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

 

Emino lyevi kali shi epuko lyelelo lyUukwambi

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Environment

Elelo lyopamudhigululwakalo lyUukwambi Traditional Authority itali vulu okupewa uusama omolwa emino lyevi lyaaheli paveta ndyoka lya ningwa pIiheke yaNakele oshowo mOnanime, omahala ngoka ge...

Missing hiker alive and well

6 days ago - 20 May 2019 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT A 31-year-old Namibian, who went missing last week while hiking in a park in California, has been found alive and well. There was...

Stray lions kill three cattle

6 days ago - 20 May 2019 | Environment

ILENI NANDJATOTwo stray lions killed three cattle last week in the grazing area near the Ongandjera salt pan at Okakewa.Okakewa is situated near Amarika in...

Budget cuts bite parks

6 days ago - 20 May 2019 | Environment

The tourism ministry is experiencing major challenges with the maintenance and the upgrading of infrastructure in protected areas, due to budget cuts. Deputy tourism minister...

Environment ministry steps up inspections

6 days ago - 20 May 2019 | Environment

The environment ministry stepped up its inspections during the 2018/19 financial year, despite ongoing government financial woes, and issued 39 compliance orders to those in...

Behati fights for Namibia's rhino

1 week ago - 17 May 2019 | Environment

Supermodel Behati Prinsloo is back in her motherland in an effort to help save the rhino which in recent years has been increasingly targeted by...

Trophy hunting at death's door

1 week ago - 15 May 2019 | Environment

The financial contribution of trophy hunting to conservation in Africa is insignificant, and the practice could soon become an anachronism. According to a new...

Illegal wood valued at N$900k

1 week ago - 14 May 2019 | Environment

Illegally harvested wood to the value of N$895 551 was sold at public auctions during the 2018/19 financial year.This is according to a technical paper...

Wild animals put livestock, people at risk

1 week ago - 14 May 2019 | Environment

The ministry of environment and tourism has reported that many of the wild animals that escaped from Etosha National Park last few months have returned...

March against timber harvesting

1 week ago - 13 May 2019 | Environment

The Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) held a peaceful demonstration against illegal timber harvesting in Windhoek on Saturday.The demonstration follows reports of illegal timber...

Latest News

10% water hike coming

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

The City of Windhoek has proposed a 10% water and 5% sewer tariff hike to come into effect in July. The City's recently announced...

Low earners excluded from drought...

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Disasters

Households with a combined income of more than N$2 600 will not qualify for state drought assistance, which has effectively excluded even low-level civil servants...

How did we get here?

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Opinion

How did we get to a situation, as a country, where our government is asking already struggling workers to donate 2% of the salaries as...

AMTA ends Fysal agreement

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Agriculture

Fysal Fresh Produce is to retrench 60 employees at the end of this month after its contract with the Agro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) was terminated....

Geingob grills Nanso

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Education

The Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) leadership received a grilling from President Hage Geingob on Wednesday during a meeting to discuss a number of issues,...

Fallout over 2% tax

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Economics

Political parties and analysts have called on the government to abandon a plan to introduce a “voluntary” 2% tax to fund drought relief.Prime Minister Saara...

Bild challenges Guibeb

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | International

The German newspaper Bild has rubbished a claim by the Namibian ambassador to Germany, Andreas Guibeb, that no arrest warrant had been issued against him.The...

Namibia ranks poorly for diversity

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Cultural

For a country that is described by many as one of the most diverse in the world, Namibia has ranked fairly poorly in a new...

Business ponders mass exodus

2 days ago - 24 May 2019 | Business

A recent survey by the Economic Policy Research Association (EPRA) of close to 600 businesses concerned about the government's policy direction shows that a staggering...

Load More