Charcoal fires cause concern

05 August 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Measures have been put in place to control and minimise bush fires caused by charcoal producers in the country.

The risk of bush fires is causing conflict between charcoal producers and neighbouring farm owners who do not burn charcoal.

Therefore, the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) last week met with the director of forestry, Joseph Hailwa, to find a solution to prevent bush fires mainly caused by charcoal burning.

The environment ministry has launched a national programme to detect, prevent and suppress fires during the fire season, between July and January.

According to the NAU, the ministry has also started creating fire breaks on the borders between regions prone to fires, including Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Khomas.



Central burning areas

The union added that the forest directory of Otjozondjupa in Otjiwarongo also facilitated a meeting with stakeholders that included the Namibian Charcoal Association (NCA), the Kalkfeld Farmers' Association and the Otjiwarongo Neighbourhood Watch.

“All the stakeholders agreed that during the fire season, charcoal must be burned in a central area on the farm instead of having single kilns scattered throughout the farm,” the NAU said.

At these central burning areas, necessary precautions, such as clearing open spaces, permanent supervision and the presence of firefighting gear, can be taken.

According to the union, these recommendations were given to the forest directory for further consideration and implementation.



Practical implementation

“Hailwa told the NAU that his office would look into practical ways to include these recommendations in the harvest permit conditions. He said that this would be implemented within a week by means of an internal memorandum to all regional forestry offices.”

The NAU encouraged stakeholders and farmers to report charcoal producers who do not adhere to the rules and who endanger the environment to the NCA.

The NCA will then consult with the forest directory accordingly.

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