No new timber may be harvested

15 January 2020 | Agriculture

In an update on the timber operations in the Kavango West, Kavango East and Zambezi regions, the forestry ministry has emphasised that no new timber may be harvested.

According to a statement issued by the ministry the timber issue is still attracting huge interest and there are many questions regarding timber harvesting, transport and marketing.

The ministry said cabinet discussed the issue in December and took note that there was a significant quantity of already harvested timber in Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi.

The cabinet therefore directed the relevant ministries to see to it that the timber that had been already harvested was marketed in both local and international markets as soon as practically possible. That was announced on 9 December.

The forestry ministry, in conjunction with other stakeholders such as the environment ministry, the police and customs officials, is implementing the cabinet directive.

According to the statement 17 staff members were deployed to the regions and at the checkpoints at Mururani, Buravo and Mpungu Vlei through which timber is transported from the north-eastern regions.

The ministry said since then the team has been working around the clock to ensure that all procedures are followed.

“Due to the past holiday season, the team was on a break as from 20 December and resumed operations on 13 January. However, there was no Namibian timber moving during the said holiday period as the ministerial staff members that operate at various strategic roadblocks have been on duty throughout.”

According to the ministry timber in transit from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Walvis Bay harbour is closely monitored from when it enters Namibia. The ministry further stressed that no new or fresh timber may be harvested and that local wood processors should be given first preference to buy before it is exported. Furthermore, it said that no timber may be transported at night in the regions and all timber should be loaded onto trucks in the presence of ministry officials.

ELLANIE SMIT

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