Ending charcoal production will be disastrous, NCA says

The Namibia Charcoal Association said more than 10 000 people are employed in the charcoal industry, with factories employing roughly 1 400 women.

07 October 2021 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

Some veld fires that have occurred across the country recently have been caused by charcoal producers not following the guidelines for good production.

This is according to the Namibia Charcoal Association (NCA), which said there are many people who want to stop charcoal production from May to October.

“This will be a disaster for an economy already suffering from the impact of the pandemic and previous years of prolonged drought.”

The association added that more than 10 000 people are employed in the industry.

“Our factories employ roughly 1 400 women.”

It therefore urged all farmers who are producing charcoal to use their new one-day burning method, which drastically minimises the risks of veld fires caused by charcoal production.

The association added that it has a training programme conducted on farms where workers are taught how to produce charcoal responsibly without the danger of causing a fire.

“Our trainers will also ensure that the correct procedures are applied on the farms,” the NCA said.

Fire breaks a must

It said all farms should have fire breaks, not only charcoal production units.

“Fire breaks are there for emergency vehicles to get to a fire quickly and to do a pre-fire to stop the veld fire from spreading to other farms. Without fire breaks, it is impossible to stop fires.”

Namibia’s fire season starts in May and since then, approximately 2.6 million hectares of land have burned on more than 660 farms, with many livestock and wildlife killed in the blazes.

Charcoal burning has been pointed out as one of the main causes for these veld fires.

Currently regulations for charcoal production state that charcoal may only be produced by the cluster burning method in the dry season from 1 May to 31 December.

This means kilns may only be burned in one central area in a camp and that a 15-metre radius around the group of kilns must be cleaned of any flammable material.

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