More teak to go

Namibia's only Zambezi teak forest is under threat because of plans for enlarged irrigation schemes.

05 June 2018 | Environment

The Mafwe Traditional Authority, in conjunction with a Chinese outfit calling itself the African Safari Wood Lodge, is planning to “harvest” and “transport” protected and endangered Zambezi teak trees on a massive 12 000 hectares.

The areas in which the harvesting is to take place are on 2 000 hectares of the Katima Farm Irrigation Scheme and 10 000 hectares of the Zambezi Modern Agriculture Irrigation Scheme in the Liselo communal area.

According to a scoping report done by Nyepez Consultancy, which was commissioned to do an environmental impact assessment of the proposed felling of the precious trees, the Chinese company was given the go-ahead by the Mafwe authority and the Directorate of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to cut down a 'specified number' of Zambezi teak trees on both farms.

It does not state what number of trees may be felled.

The report states that the Chinese company, in conjunction with the Mafwe authority, intends to cut the harvested timber into sizable pieces, to pack the timber into large containers and transport it to the Walvis Bay port for export to China.

It further states that the Chinese company was “hired specifically” to harvest the timber in the two project areas.

It is, however, reportedly not to be involved in the planned agricultural production in the two areas.



The report states that the African Safari Wood Lodge has “sought to acquire” a harvesting permit for small, medium and large trees from the forestry directorate in the Zambezi Region.



It could not be established from the agriculture ministry whether the company did indeed receive the permit. The Mafwe traditional authority could also not be reached for comment.



Nyepez Consultancy indicated that it did have consultations with identified stakeholders, whose recommendations would be taken into consideration during the preparation of the EIA study.



Nyepez Consultancy has placed an advertisement in which it announced a public consultation on the matter on 15 June at 09:00 at the Kamunu Social Hall in Katima Mulilo where the pros and cons of the project are to discussed.



Suggestions can be made until 22 June.







BACKGROUND



The two areas – Katima Farm and the Zambezi Modern Agriculture Irrigation Scheme – run along the border with Zambia.



The Katima irrigation project was decided on by the Zambezi regional council, Mafwe authority and the agriculture ministry to “revive” and “expand” it into a Green Scheme project. The size of the farm was then extended from 300 hectares to 2 000 hectares.



The so-called Zambezi Modern Agriculture Irrigation Scheme, leasing the 10 000 hectares of state forest, is the abandoned tobacco project of Chinese Ng Yung's Namibia Oriental Tobacco.



According to the scoping report Namibia Oriental Tobacco responded to the widespread criticism against the planned tobacco project and decided to change their proposal to growing maize, fruit and vegetables instead.







CONCERNS RAISED



Conservationists preferring anonymity have expressed concern over the planned felling of Zambezi teak, which is classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Already in 2005 the IUCN observed that these threes – protected by forestry legislation - were threatened by over-exploitation for timber, fencing and hut construction.



The conservationists said the planned irrigation schemes now provide the green light for the wholesale destruction of the only teak forest in Namibia.



Moreover, the second volume of the integrated land use plan for the Zambezi Region complied by the lands ministry in 2015 states that irrigation is not the best use of the land there despite its abundant water resources.



A strategic environmental assessment advised against large-scale irrigation farms “that involve extensive clearing of woodland or riverine habitat” to be replaced by mono-crops, or single crops on the same land year after year.



It states that it is “far less environmentally damaging” and more empowering for the local population to have many small-scale irrigation plots.



The agriculture ministry said it was looking into questions sent to it.

CATHERINE SASMAN

Similar News

 

Phosphate judgment on Thursday

18 hours ago | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has reserved judgment until Thursday on whether the granting of an environmental clearance certificate to Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) will be...

Etosha's troubled fence

5 days ago - 14 June 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry has confirmed it will need N$500 million each year over the next five financial years to complete the elephant- and predator-proof fence...

By 2050 there may be more plastic in oceans...

1 week ago - 12 June 2018 | Environment

Up to five trillion grocery bags are used each year and like most plastic garbage barely any is recycled, the UN said as it warned...

Clampdown on illegal sand mining

1 week ago - 11 June 2018 | Environment

Environmental commissioner Theofilus Nghitila has read the riot act to the Uukwambi Traditional Authority, which has been condoning illegal sand mining for decades. Last...

Omasiku gokulongitha oonayilona ogeli pokuthika pehulilo

1 week ago - 07 June 2018 | Environment

Oompango ndhoka dha nuninwa okweeta pehulilo nenge eshunitho pevi lyelongitho lyoonayilona otadhi manithwa nuumvo moNamibia.Omilandu otashi ka kala ehulithepo lyelongitho lyoonayilona nenge iishoshela yi li...

Plastic bags' days are numbered

1 week ago - 06 June 2018 | Environment

Regulations to reduce the use of plastic bags in Namibia will be finalised within this financial year. These measures may include the banning of...

Okuti kwaNamibia kuli moshiponga

1 week ago - 06 June 2018 | Environment

Omudhingoloko ngoa tagu ka kuthwa omiti ndhoka, otagu adhika poKatima Farm Irrigation Scheme ehala lyuunene woohecta 2 000, oshowo ehala lyuunene woohecta 10 000...

More teak to go

2 weeks ago - 05 June 2018 | Environment

The Mafwe Traditional Authority, in conjunction with a Chinese outfit calling itself the African Safari Wood Lodge, is planning to “harvest” and “transport” protected and...

World Environment Day 2018: A platform for action

2 weeks ago - 05 June 2018 | Environment

World Environment Day is the United Nations most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began...

Etosha fence will take ten more years

2 weeks ago - 01 June 2018 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT Over the past six years only 112 kilometres of the boundary fence of the Etosha National Park has been upgraded and it...

Latest News

Kingon re-appointed as SARS commissioner

18 hours ago | Economics

South African Revenue Service (SARS) acting commissioner Mark Kingon’s time at the helm has been extended by another three months, after minister of finance Nhlanhla...

Support for refugees

18 hours ago | Economics

NDAMA NAKASHOLEA total of N$13.2 million has been allocated in 2018/19 financial year to the administration of refugees programme under the home affairs ministry.The programme...

Totem

18 hours ago | Economics

Quote of the day“The Minerals Council believes that much more work needs to be done to create a Mining Charter that promotes competitiveness, investment, growth...

Court reins in spies

18 hours ago | Justice

The flimsy fig leaf of national security and secrecy, used by government, especially the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS), to withhold information in a constitutional...

Phosphate judgment on Thursday

18 hours ago | Environment

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has reserved judgment until Thursday on whether the granting of an environmental clearance certificate to Namibian Marine Phosphate (NMP) will be...

Public grills ECN contenders

18 hours ago | Government

OGONE TLHAGEThe Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has started interviewing candidates for the position of chief electoral officer.For the first time ever, the process, which...

Otjomuise shack fire claims two

18 hours ago | Crime

JANA-MARI SMITH A shack fire in Windhoek’s Otjomuise area killed two people over the weekend.The police reported that the two...

Katrina takes time into own...

18 hours ago | Education

The education ministry has issued a directive that schools may not start earlier than 07:30 or later than 08:30.This follows numerous directives issued by the...

Two in court after drug...

18 hours ago | Justice

Two men arrested in connection with a drug bust at the port of Walvis Bay on Friday made their first court appearance yesterday. Grant Noble...

Load More