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

 

Namibia on alert for new SA poaching tactics

1 day - 18 October 2018 | Environment

A Namibian anti-poaching organisation is warning Namibian game rangers to be aware of a deadly new tactic in South Africa where poachers have reportedly begun...

New wildlife bill coming

1 day - 18 October 2018 | Environment

The environment ministry aims to enact the Wildlife and Protective Areas Management Bill by early next year. A final national consultative meeting on the bill...

Namibians urged not to cut down trees

1 day - 18 October 2018 | Environment

Namibians have been urged not to cut down trees to reduce deforestation and improve food security in the country. In an effort to reduce deforestation...

US official under fire for Nam hunting photos

3 days ago - 16 October 2018 | Environment

A United States wildlife official is being pressured to resign after sharing photographs of a hunting trip in Namibia in which at least 14 wild...

Namibia calls for review on wildlife trade ban

4 days ago - 15 October 2018 | Environment

Namibia's environment minister Pohamba Shifeta has urged for a review on the blanket ban on the trade of wildlife products, including rhino horns and ivory,...

Vague environment act to be amended

4 days ago - 15 October 2018 | Environment

The office of the environmental commissioner is in the process of amending environmental regulations in order to make them less ambiguous to ensure successful prosecutions....

Light at the end of the tunnel

1 week ago - 12 October 2018 | Environment

A little more than a year after authorities launched a campaign to tackle the increasing rate of pangolin trafficking in Namibia, it has proven exceptionally...

Namibia 29th on wildlife index

1 week ago - 08 October 2018 | Environment

Namibia, along with other well-known African wildlife destinations, ranks surprisingly low on the newly-released Global Wildlife Travel Index, which lists the best countries in the...

NaDEET wins global award

2 weeks ago - 04 October 2018 | Environment

An environmental education organisation in Namibia is one of this year's winners of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco)-Japan Prize on Education...

Outcry over black rhino trophy

2 weeks ago - 01 October 2018 | Environment

The hunting of Namibia's black rhino is back in the international spotlight with calls from conservation and animal welfare groups to cancel the import of...

Latest News

Nail errant nurses - Haufiku

11 hours ago | Health

Health ministry permanent secretary Ben Nangombe has issued a directive that no nurses may use their cellphones while on duty, and that no health facilities...

No peace for Cheryl's family

11 hours ago | Crime

The police are still working around the clock to catch the killer, or killers, of nine-year-old Cheryl Avihe Ujaha although there has been a lack...

Recruiting the best staff

11 hours ago | Supplements

Below are some tips for employers on how to go about this often arduous task.Improve your candidate poolCompanies that select new employees from the candidates...

Taking Namfisa to new and...

11 hours ago | Supplements

Octavia Tsibes As the deputy CEO of prudential supervision at the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa), Erna Motinga is responsible for strengthening its supervisory...

Our dismal public healthcare

11 hours ago | Columns

There appears to be no end in sight to the many and deep-seated problems at the heart of Namibia's public healthcare sector. It goes without...

A vivacious young woman

11 hours ago | Supplements

Born and raised in a small village called Kayira-yira, situated eight kilometres west of Rundu, Zonia worked very hard throughout her school years and moved...

Improving sustainability through change

11 hours ago | Supplements

Justicia Shipena Her key role is to help Namport deliver sustainable performance improvement by utilising people. Futher focusing on how change can influence, which includes...

Airport downgrade a major threat

11 hours ago | Transport

Analysts believe that if Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) is downgraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), it would lead to massive job losses,...

'Arrogant' Utoni under fire

11 hours ago | Government

Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma has been described as crude, dismissive and arrogant when it comes to dealing with the media.These were the sentiments of...

Load More