More charcoal plants on the cards

Charcoal production in Namibia has the potential to create local jobs and stimulate the economy.

03 December 2018 | Business

We will soon start with our own production, processing and packaging of the charcoal before we export it overseas ourselves. – Tjekero Tweya, ICT Minister

OTJIWARONGO – The ministery of industrialisation, trade and SME development will soon bring in three renowned South African charcoal manufacturing companies to set up charcoal manufacturing and processing plants in the Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Erongo regions.

ICT minister Tjekero Tweya announced the development at a discussion held with board members of the Namibia Charcoal Association (NCA) at Otjiwarongo on Thursday. He didn’t say when exactly this will happen.

Tweya also urged local charcoal producers to set up charcoal manufacturing factories and directly export the finished product overseas.

Currently about 80% of the local producers send their semi-processed or raw charcoal in trucks to South Africa, Tweya said. Here it is packaged into small boxes before exported overseas where the charcoal fetches triple the amount of money tit is sold to South Africans by Namibians.

“This will come to an end very soon as we will soon start with our own production, processing and packaging of the charcoal before we export it overseas ourselves,” said Tweya, praising the local farmers who have managed to do this.

According to the minister, charcoal production in the country holds the potential to create local jobs and stimulate the economy by bringing in the foreign currency once the production, processing and value addition activities of charcoal are localised and done correctly.

Tweya also called on local producers to improve their labour relations and desist from exploiting charcoal workers.

Speaking on behalf of the NCA board, Danie van Vuuren said the discussion with Tweya was fruitful and inspirational for the industry. - Nampa

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