Utilising bush biomass for economic and ecological benefits

Project description

Title: Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation III
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Namibia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT)
Overall term​​​​​​​: 2022 to 2024

Restored savannah in the foreground, where the bush has already been selectively thinned. Bush-encroached savannah in the background (©Tim Brunauer / GIZ)

Context

Namibia has quite literally a ‘growing’ problem: bush encroachment. Native bush species cover up to 45 million hectares of agricultural land and natural savannah. This negatively affects biodiversity in the invaded regions and also undermines the economic livelihoods of the local population.

However, land users are increasingly recognising this challenge as an opportunity: by thinning the bush through harvesting, farmers can earn additional income. Bush can be processed into biochar, wood chips and building materials. The biomass industry is growing significantly and has now created 11,000 jobs.

A well-established dialogue between the government, civil society and the private sector addresses the key obstacles faced in the industry, enabling it to become increasingly more professional and accounted for in relevant environmental policies.

Objective

Utilising bush biomass in an environmentally beneficial way is anchored in national environmental policies and private sector activities.

Biochar made from Namibian bush biomass for soil enhancement (©Tim Brunauer/ GIZ)

Approach

GIZ is implementing the project together with the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT).

The project consists of three components:

  • Harmonising Namibian climate and environmental policies with existing bush biomass management strategies.
  • Promoting exchange between government, private and civil society stakeholders to develop environmentally sound and economically beneficial approaches for utilising bush biomass.
  • Strengthening the competences of the industry associations in order to initiate economically viable business models that incorporate bush biomass.

Through the interaction of government, civil society and the private sector, an economic sector is emerging in Namibia that is securing more and more livelihoods in rural areas.

Shredding bush biomass for further processing

Last update: July 2022