Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Tjekero Tweya on Friday launched a Strategic Action Plan for Sustainable Bush Value Chains in Namibia during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the Namib Green Gold Processing (NGGP) production facility. sap
NGGP, a special purpose vehicle established by the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) and, Baobab Capital, would be the first company in Namibia to convert bush biomass at industrial scale into animal feed and biochar. Baobab is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing and, adapted the International Finance Corporation’s Equator Principles as its Environmental and Social Policy Framework.
In his speech, Tweya said the launching of the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and the ground breaking is an example of “practicing what we preach”, as the production, facility would be implementing the findings and guidance of the SAP. He noted that NGGP emanated from an intensive research and development phase, supported by his ministry, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), the Meat Board of Namibia, the AgriBank, Unam’s Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.
He further highlighted that NGGP is a commendable example of a successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP), where the UNIDO project facilitated the government, foreign aid and the private sector joining hands to address pertinent development challenges and to deliver long-term sustainable and transformative solutions. Such solutions include sustainable and decent jobs; affordable, safe and nutritive feeds accessible to northern communal farmers; restoration of grazing land and; improving groundwater recharge.
,The Biomass Utilisation and Bush Control (BCBU) Project by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), funded by the GiZ, validated 14 bush value chains as viable for Namibia. Such bush value chains can deliver annual net economic benefits of some N$1.9 billion (estimated over a 25-year period at an annual harvest rate of 6% of total bush).
Bush encroachment is a challenge across Sub-Saharan Africa and, Namibia is becoming a regional sector and market leader for bush value chains in this region.
Tweya encouraged Namibians to obtain the relevant documents from the projects and development partners, to explore viable partnerships and, to engage with technical advisors and financiers to establish more of the viable value chains. He suggested that by implementing bush value chains regionally, SADC countries can generate sustainable employment, develop capacities for an emerging agribusiness sector, aid the recovery of degraded rangelands, improve groundwater recharge, and improve local feed and food security.
Khaled El Mekwad, the UNIDO Regional Representative for southern Africa, commended the partnership as being effective and resulting in the SAP, which is a convergence of feasibility study and market intelligence that seeks to provide a sustainable business model for bush value chains. He emphasised the importance of the involvement of the universities and vocational training institutions as critical for capacity development across the value chains to ensure sustainability and compliance with global standards.
El Mekwad concurred with the minister that bush value chains can be a contributor toward inclusive and sustainable industrial development which resonates with UNIDO’s mandate to promote Inclusive Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) for creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness, safeguarding the environment and strengthening knowledge and institutions.
Acting CEO of NIDA, Uparura Kuvare welcomes the initiative, saying it truly reflects their mandate to stimulate and enable industrial development, particularly involving the local private sector and local financing institutions. Kuvare indicated that NGGP could be a much-needed catalyst to improve critical development indicators while trying to do import substitution through manufacturing that can reduce the country’s annual import bill of some N$25 billion.