Agri ministry sidesteps timber issues

20 March 2019 | Agriculture

The ministry has sidestepped key questions on whether it will re-implement the ban on the export of unprocessed timber until a local value addition processing factory is established.

It did however say, weeks after being sent questions relating to a State House meeting between President Hage Geingob and the Swapo Youth League (SPYL), that the moratorium was one of the things that they were looking at. Executive director at the agriculture ministry, Percy Misika, confirmed that the ministry did not attend the meeting during which it was agreed with Geingob to forthwith cease the exportation of unprocessed timber and to establish a timber processing plant and value addition plant to create jobs and optimise the creation of a sustainable local enterprise.

“The ministry did not attend the meeting. However, it is the right of each and every citizen of this country to enjoy the freedom of speech as provided for in the constitution. The ministry acknowledges and appreciates the position of SPYL in this regard.” Misika further said that the ministry and other stakeholders are in consultation to find a sustainable solution to the timber issues when asked whether the halting of unprocessed timber exports will therefore be implemented immediately due to the decisions taken at State House.

“The media and general public will be apprised of developments in this regard in due course,” he said.

According to Misika the subject is still under discussion and a moratorium is just but one of the options that could be considered. He however said the ministry can and is ready to play a facilitating role together with the trade ministry in the establishment of a timber processing plant in the country.

“However, the ministry will also continue monitoring the forest resources and regulate the flow of timber from forests to wood factories, if and when they are established.”