The Standard Bank Biomass Fair brings together stakeholders of the growing biomass sector in Namibia. Through coming together and sharing of knowledge the sector is strengthened and new opportunities can be explored.
About the Biomass Sector :
Bush encroachment in Namibia is a threat to biodiversity. It is considered a serious ecological and economic problem. Yet, the Namibian biomass sector is largely underdeveloped, and holds many economic and ecological solutions.
Bush thinning is the selective removal of invasive or encroacher species. In addition, with more and more farmers adopting the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) standards, the methods used to remove encroachers species have become environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Namibia has an estimated 45 million hectares of bush encroached land. The Namibian economy could stand to benefit some USD 3 billion over a 20 year period if a large portion of that land were to be harvested. To give some perspective, this encroached area is equivalent to the entire surface areas of Germany, Belgium and Switzerland combined.
Research into spaces that have been sustainably thinned show huge ecosystem benefits. These include diversity of plant species and better ground water absorption.
Namibia has also only begun to tap into the economic benefits of bush thinning, yet it has been estimated that bush encroachment in Namibia is increasing each year by approximately 3.2%, regardless of any ongoing efforts to extract the bush.
The charcoal industry is the most developed biomass sector in the country. Yet, the biomass sector in Namibia has only scratched the surface of what can be achieved. Below is a list of a few of the promising sectors within biomass:
- Charcoal : Namibia is the fifth largest exporter of charcoal in the world and with new markets opening up to our environmentally friendly and sustainable practises, this sector is expected to grow.
- Biochar : An exciting new product, also highlighted for it’s climate change mitigation effects, biochar is a growing sector that brings possible solutions to our topsoil degradation and more.
- Bush-to-Feed : Using encroacher species, farmers in Namibia have been able to sustain their livestock through the recent drought.
- Energy & Power : Encroacher bush as a feedstock for thermal energy generation is already gaining traction in Namibia. The Ohorongo Cement plant near Otavi has proven that its thermal energy requirements can be covered almost entirely on encroacher bush wood chips.
Some interesting ecological benefits that have been uncovered through research in this sector :
- When doing sustainable bush thinning, your water infiltration capacity on your land has been found to increase
- Bush thinning improves microbial content in soil, thus improves soil quality and soil services
- Better diversity and variety of flora species after bush thinning
About the Standard Bank Biomass Fair 2021 :
A Research Symposium will take place on 3 June from 9 am at Otjiwa Safari Lodge. The event will also be live-streamed. Register at www.biomassfair.com.na to attend online.
15 local and International speakers will be offering presentations on cutting-edge research relating to biomass.
An Industry Conference will take place on 4 June from 9am at Otjiwa Safari Lodge. The event will also be live-streamed. Register at www.biomassfair.com.na to attend online.
With a special focus on the industry, markets, technologies and products, the second day of the Biomass Fair includes exciting presentations from both local and international speakers looking at opportunities in biomass.
The Namibian Charcoal Association’s Annual General Meeting will be held from 8:00 to 10:00. This event is for members only. Register at www.biomassfair.com.na to attend online.