Charcoal - Where do I begin?

1.       Documentation needed: 

  • Proof of ownership (Title Deed) for harvesting on own property
  • Lease Agreement if the producer is not the owner of the land
  • Written permission from the Traditional Authority for harvesting on communal land.
  • Written permission form the chairperson if the farm is part of a Conservancy
  • Complete Farm Map with farm name, owner (+ tenant), camps, camp numbers & -sizes @ hectares, water points, farm- and official roads, location of homestead and charcoal village (if possible GPS coordinates), current- (if any) and planned harvesting & exclusions (latter being all excluded areas like environmental sensitive habitats, fields, irrigation areas, cattle corridors, areas not planned to be harvested).


2.       Licenses needed:

  • Apply for a license for Forest Produce (Form 10) at your Forestry Office
  • You will then receive Forestry Inspection Report (form 11) plus a License for Harvesting (Permit – form 12) with signed conditions        on the reverse side of the Permit.


3.       Administration:

  • With a valid Harvesting Permit the harvesting of invader tree species can start on the farm of charcoal unit according the                      applicable allocations by Forestry
  • Apply for a signed supply agreement at your most reliable buyer
  • Apply for Membership at Namibia Charcoal Association and pay the monthly levies
  • Apply when necessary for:

      a)       Transport permit to the buyer (form 13) and sign the reverse side

     b)       Marketing permit to the buyer (form 17) and sign the reverse side

     c)       New harvesting license 2 weeks before the expiring date on the valid permit

     d)       Provide with a complete summary report (form 20) of the previous harvest quantities

4.       Common Charcoal Harvesting species:

  • Swarthaak (Acacia mellifera)
  • Rooihaak in the North / Western areas (Acacia reficiens)
  • Baster-haak-en-steek in North / Eastern areas (Acacia luederitzii)
  • Krulpeul (Acacia tortilis)
  • Withaak (Acacia fleckii & -erubescens)
  • Geelhaak (Acacia Senegal)
  • Vloedvlaktedoring (Acacia kirkii)
  • Deurmekaar (Terminalia prunioides)
  • Geelhout (Terminalia sericea)
  • Sekelbos (Dichrostachyscinerea)

To determine the stems per hectare that exceed the 18cm Forestry restriction at ground, you need special written approval from Forestry to harvest these species, if these are a threat to encroachment like the beneath 18 cm species.               

5.       Edible fodder bush, not to be harvested, being utilized by cattle, game and small stock:

  • Gabbabos (Catophractesalexandri)
  • Kamferbos (Tachonanthuscamphoratus)
  • Rosyntjiebos (Grewia species)


6.       Common species not allowed to harvest, protected by Namibian legislation/Forestry:

  • Kameeldoring (Acacia erioloba)
  • Witgat (Boscia albitrunca)
  • Appelblaar (Philenoptera- & Lonchocarpus nelsii)
  • Hardekool (Combretum imberbe)
  • Mopani (Colophospermum mopane)
  • Oumaboom (Albizia anthelmintica)
  • Wilde Vye (Ficus species)
  • Wilde Olyf/Olienhout (Loea Africana)
  • Huilboom/African wattle (Peltophorum africanum)
  • Marula (Sclerocarya birrea)
  • Tambuti (Spirostachys Africana)


7.       Safety precautions:

  • Fire breaks around each burning kiln needs to be 15 meters
  • On each side of surrounding fence of the camps to be harvest – 6 meters
  • Close the lid of the kiln during strong winds
  • Graze the camps completely to remove all burnable material & to avoid potential fires
  • No wood or flames must be above the entrance of the kiln during burning
  • Charcoal in the kilns should be cooled off before removing the charcoal
  • Firefighting equipment must be available at all harvesting sites, like fire-slashers, backpack sprayers, and if possible or affordable        mobile fire fighter + tractor/pick-up.
  • Contact list of all neighbours and applicable stakeholders for effective communication when a fire-, medical- or other emergency          arises.



One of the fundamental requirements for venturing into the charcoal industry is to ensure that you have a viable market for your products. Presently, the markets are under pressure due to the weakening Rand. Notwithstanding, it is the expectation that the industry will diversify and develop new markets in:

  • Barbeque Charcoal - RSA
  • Retort Charcoal and
  • White Charcoal