Let's exploit charcoal for the benefit of the poor: Angula

17 Jul 2014 15:20pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUL (NAMPA) - Defence Minister Nahas Angula has expressed concern about trees used for firewood being depleted in areas with high populations, such as rural areas and informal settlements.
He made the remarks in Parliament on Wednesday after the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration Ben Amathila tabled a report on the one-day ‘Conference on Renewable Energy Sources in Namibia’ held under the auspices of the Parliament of Namibia on 14 April this year.
The main objective of the conference was to afford lawmakers an opportunity to share information on various renewable energy sources, their potential as well as how Namibia could capitalise on them.
Angula said Namibia has two sources of energy which it can exploit to benefit the poor - sun and charcoal.
With regards to charcoal, the Swapo-Party Member of Parliament (MP) said right now, the country battles bush-encroachment on farms. Bush-encroachment is currently being exploited for the benefit of people in Europe, as the charcoal made after the bushes are removed is exported to Europe.
“This is while our people in informal settlements and rural areas are still carrying firewood on their heads. Why is it so hard for us to learn from the example of Zambia?” he asked.
Angula explained that in Zambia, every household in informal settlements has stoves which use charcoal, which is more convenient.
He noted that this type of approach could provide employment for those making charcoal as well as those who sell charcoal, in addition to saving time for those who use it to cook.
“Why can’t we do the same thing here so that we can have dignity for our people not to carry firewood on their heads? This is what I am advocating for,” he stressed.
Angula said a bag of charcoal could be sold for about N.dollars 20 and could last a month, which will solve a lot of problems for people in rural and informal settlements.