Illegal timber harvesting at Ohangwena

13 June 2019 | Environment

Forestry officials in Ohangwena are not aware of the illegal sale and harvesting of timber taking place in the region.

Illegal harvesters operate along the Eenhana-Okongo-Mpungu road, where they sell timber from trees cut down in the Ohangwena forest.

No permission has been granted by the forestry ministry.

Namibian Sun has established that a few members of the Oukwanyama community are harvesting timber to earn an income.

They do not have specific customers or a market, but sell to whoever is interested along the road. Timber is sold for between N$60 and N$250 a pole.

When approached for comment, Ohangwena forestry chief Moses Moses said his office is not aware of the harvesting and timber sales.

He also said his office has not issued any timber-harvesting permits in the region, despite the harvesters telling Namibian Sun they have been operating since last year.

“Unless they just started, we are not aware of such people. I don't think they have been doing that for a long period,” Moses said.

One of the harvesters, who refused to give his name, said his business is doing well and he is making money. He said he has been doing business since the middle of last year.

He said people travelling on the road stop to enquire about the wood.

“This is our only marketplace, but we are attracting many customers. We start cutting trees early in the morning and we spend the rest of the day selling. Many people are interested, especially those bringing their livestock into the area or those who just bought mahangu fields; they only complain about the transport because we are very far,” said the harvester.

“In a day we cut down between five and 10 trees and we wake up around 00:300. We are just operating from the forest and we are not on anybody's land.”

ILENI NANDJATO