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OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF THE REPORT ENTITLED: “FEASIBILITY STUDY ON ELECTRICITY AND PYROLYSIS OIL PRODUCTION FROM WOOD CHIPS IN NAMIBIA” – STATEMENT BY JOHN MUTORWA, MINISTER OF
AGRICULTURE, WATER AND FORESTY (MAWF). SEMINAR ON BUSH UTILIZATION FOR ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION IN NAMIBIA
14 MAY 2008, NAMPOWER CONVENTION CENTRE, WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA 1.1 I am, credibly informed that the main objectives of the project, whose final product, its report, we are officially and publicly launching, today, could be summarized as follows:
To evaluate the feasibility of biomass utilization in power and pyrolysis oil production.
To develop the bush chip production technology and evaluate the social-economic aspect of utilization of bush biomass for energy.
In Namibia, invader bushes, appearing in varying densities, form, on the one hand, a potential source of energy; particularly in the commercial farming areas in the northern half of central and eastern parts of the country. On the other hand, the dominance of these bushes has drastically reduced the productive potential of large parts of the farming
area. We are gathered here, today, to discuss pertinent issues, pertaining to bush encroachment in our country. 1.3 It is a well-known and much publicized fact, that a substantial large part of Namibian farm land is bush encroached by different woody plant species. Those plant species that invade grazing land, contribute to the reduction of the livestock carrying capacity of many farming lands. This situation has led to both environmental imbalance and financial losses in the Agricultural sector. Although the loss associated with bush encroachment may not be over emphasized, unwanted bushes, cover areas that could have been otherwise utilized in more productive ways. Through different studies, the extent of bush encroachment is now fairly well-known. As a result, it has been estimated that an amount of about N$700 million is believed to have been lost every year in the Agricultural sector, due to the bush encroachment phenomenon. country. 1.4 For many years, different stakeholders have tried to find solutions, by applying different methods of bush eradication. Most of these methods used, were and are very expensive. For example, efforts have been put in motion, to convert such bushes in economic valuable products such as charcoal, wood chips, wood fuel for cooking and fire-blocks for heating. Though some positive results have been achieved in these efforts, a lot is still needed to be done, to make a significant positive change in the bush encroachment problem. It is our strong belief that if we find an economical valuable product from these unwanted invader bushes, then bush encroachment may become an opportunity, instead of a national problem, that is, today. Thus, it is important to double our efforts on what to do, in order for us to alleviate this problem, in our
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, views bush encroachment as a destructive threat to the national economic development of the country. Thus, in addition to the efforts that the GRN is taking and implementing, we also approached our partners in development, whom we believe, May posses and do posses appropriate experience on the subject, to assist us. In this respect, the Government of Finland was approached and a project was devised to conduct a feasibility study, aimed at looking for ways to utilize these bushes. The study was jointly funded by the Finish Government and the Namibian Government. We are also aware of the financial support from the European Union (EU) to one of the sister projects, CBEND, on this subject, which is being implemented by the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and other partners, such as the national agricultural unions in Namibia. We deeply appreciate this assistance and fully support these efforts that may lead to the permanent solution.
We believe that the method that can lead to a solution should address aspects of harvesting methods, transportation of wood materials, conversion of raw materials into economic and valuable products and marketing of such products. Economic bush utilization will result into other different benefits that may be directly or indirectly derived from these efforts. For instance, job creation for unemployed people, improvement of beef production; reduction in environmental problems, such as reduction of ground water level, threat to some tree species, to mention but a few.
I was made to understand that the report we are about to receive and officially launch, at this occasion, has attempted to look into different aspects of the wood industry. The report is titled: “Feasibility Study on Electricity and Pyrolysis oil production from wood chips in Namibia”. The study did not only look at the possibility of electricity production, but it also looked at the wood harvesting methods and the related costs. It also
looked at possible socio-economic benefits that may be derived from such a project.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am pleased to announce that our Ministry regards bush encroachment problem as one of the priorities to be addressed by both Government institutions and other private sector role players. For this reason, we have a Bush utilization program in our ministerial strategic plan and more than N$15 million is earmarked for addressing bush utilization over a three year period from this current financial year. The project is designed to support farmers to combat bush encroachment on their farmlands. It is also expected that the program will assist communities and other stakeholders, to make use of the forestry resources, to generate income, through various wood based industries. The project component includes the establishment of a Namibian Woodland Management Council – the body that will help our Ministry to implement some of the activities related to this subject. The feasibility studies to determine the suitability of different interventions on bush utilization and support on incentives for different stakeholders to fully participate in the wood industry, will be undertaken soon. It is through this program, that our Ministry will support major projects in bush utilization, in partnership with different stakeholders. At the end of the day, we want to see different small and medium woody industries grown and developed in Namibia. For us to achieve these, stakeholder participation is a prerequisite, throughout.
It is our sincere hope that our partners in development, will make use of this report and lobby for major investments, both local and international, by the potential investors, both local and international, to form partnerships with our local institutions, to establish plants at different scales, to generate power from the bushes. I also would like to take this
opportunity to urge our farmers and all relevant authorities to cooperate with the investors, so as to attract more investment in this sector. 1.10 Finally, let me register our appreciation as Government, broadly and as a Sector Ministry specifically, to the Finnish Government, for all the financial and expert support rendered to our Ministry, in the forestry sector and the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) for the job well-done, with regard to this particular report. We believe that this report will serve as a helpful reference and information document, for different stakeholders. We look forward to strengthening our long-standing cooperation. 1.11 It is now my pleasant duty, to officially and publicly launch the report on: Feasibility Study on Electricity and Pyrolisis Oil Production from wood chips in Namibia. The Report is thus now available at our Ministry, Let me Directorate of Forestry, free of charge, for all interested parties.
also finally take this opportunity to wish you all: constructive, focused, fruitful and successful discussions for the rest of this very important Seminar. I thank you!
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