Firewood producers at Okakarara receive donation

OKAKARARA: Eight community groups that cut firewood in the Otjozondjupa Region’s Okakarara Constituency for a living received a donation of woodcutting machines and tools on Friday.

The eight machines were donated to them by First National Bank Namibia (FNB), the Central North Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored), and the Otjozondjupa Regional Council.

The machines were handed over by FNB’s Head of Strategic Marketing and Communication, Dixon Norval at the Okakarara Constituency office to the eight community groups – Ehupo Retu, Okanguindi, Oruauku, Okatjoruu, Okahitua, Omatupa, Omboora, and Omingondo.

Norval said FNB through its foundation purchased four machines and financed training for the firewood producers. They have also provided them with safety wear such as shoes and overalls.

FNB in addition provided the groups with wheelbarrows valued at N.dollars 130 000.

Norval said cutting firewood is a unique business.

“We from FNB are confident in you. Look after your businesses and property for you to become self-sustainable in the long-term,” he said.

He however also reminded them to be environmentally sensitive.

“Don’t cut down protected indigenous trees, there are other trees you can exploit,” he said.

Norval also indicated that FNB’s Okakarara branch will keep a keen eye on the progress of their projects.

One of the wood producers, Felix Hepundjua thanked FNB, Cenored and the Otjozondjupa Regional Council for the donation. “I have been cutting firewood with my hands for the past five years and I make good money every month,” he said.

Hepundjua said now that he has a machine, he hopes to improve his income and employ other people.

Another firewood producer, Jackson Katjizeu said he makes about N.dollars 400 per tonne of firewood.

He makes between 25 and 35 tonnes of firewood per month and now hopes to increase this to over 50 tonnes of wood per month.

Katjizeu noted that the wood is often sold around Okakarara and to buyers based in Otjiwarongo.

Okakarara Constituency Councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu in his vote of thanks encouraged the producers to work hard and create employment.

“Think of producing fencing poles for our livestock farmers, it can be a business opportunity for you since you now have cutting machines,” said Kandorozu.

He then thanked FNB, Cenored and the Otjozondjupa Regional Council for the donation to the community groups.

SOURCE: NAMPA