Friday, 10 April 2020
1,6 million hectares: Namibia reaches new heights in FSC certification
Namibia has achieved 1,6 million hectares of FSC Forest Management certified area with approximately 320 land owners/managers.
The country has experienced a staggering 572% growth over the last 3 years. FSC group scheme certificate holders have additionally included Non-Timber Forest Products, such as venison, into their scope of forest management certification bringing additional value to their group scheme members.
FSC Southern Africa Coordinator, Ms. Manushka Moodley, attributed the significant growth in certified area to the increased market demand for FSC certified charcoal in Europe, availability of forest resources in Namibia, land restoration objectives of land owners/managers and the Government, and the positive attitude of farmers, skilled consultants and organizations in the supply chain. German-based retailers, Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord and its Austrian based subsidiary, Hofer, contributed to the growth of FSC certification via a partnership with FSC Global Development. The project directly contributed to the certification of 190 000 hectares involving 28 farmers in their supply chain.
Environmental Compliance Consultancy (ECC) Director, Mr. Stephan Bezuidenhout, expressed that “the past 5 years have seen an exponential growth of FSC certified rangeland. FSC’s presence in the country and assistance in drafting a National standard for the country are key contributors to the growth. Practical implementation, responsible farming and transparency will ensure a sustainable future for Namibia’s rangeland and associated activities.”
CMO Director, Dr. Michal Brink, explains ‘becoming Africa’s largest forest management certificate holder with approximately 1,2 million hectares is because of several factors integrated into a sustainable solution for farmers wanting to responsibly produce charcoal. This includes the development a software solution that makes the implementation of FSC requirements simple and value-adding. CMO is honored to make a difference in the charcoal industry in Namibia, while simultaneously restoring degraded forest ecosystems and uplifting livelihoods.”
The Namibian Charcoal Association (NCA) Chairperson, Mr. Gunter Schwalm, expressed excitement of this achievement, “the growth of certified area in Namibia as provided landowners and workers in the industry with an income during a difficult drought whilst meeting the restoration objectives needed in our landscape. The provision of FSC certified charcoal to international markets will continue to contribute to the growth of our local economy and assist with employment opportunities.”
The Director of Forestry, Mr. Hailwa, indicated in his recent meeting with the FSC that the Directorate of Forestry is supportive of the growth of FSC certification in the country and acknowledges the potential of further FSC certification of both private and communal managed areas.
Namibia is also the first country in Africa to obtain an FSC Group Chain of Custody (CoC) certificate, with 11 different Organisations certified under the FSC CoC certificate issued to CMO Namibia (Pty) Ltd. Dr. Michal Brink, says that they “decided to establish an FSC CoC Group scheme to provide local processors in the Namibian Charcoal industry with an opportunity to join the FSC value chain at an affordable cost, thereby unlocking the bottleneck in the FSC charcoal supply chain destined for the European markets.”
FSC Southern Africa carried out training earlier this year, in February in Windhoek and early March in Grootfontein, on the now effective National Forest Stewardship Standard for Namibia. The training was funded by the GIZ BCBU program in Namibia and led by an Assurance Services International (ASI) approved training facilitator. The training aimed to calibrate certification body auditors, farm managers and consultants on the requirements of the new Standard. Carbo Namibia Group Scheme Manager, Mr. Frank Detering, expressed that the course was “of great assistance to the FSC producers for future purposes and gave them more insight into the past activities relating to FSC requirements”. ECC Director, Mr. Stephan Bezuidenhout, thought the training was beneficial to both consultants and farmers as it allowed participants to work systemically through the Standard whilst being able to engage directly with the FSC and the trainer. FSC Southern Africa plans to host 2 more courses in 2020.