THE Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry says there has been an unacceptable increase in the illegal harvesting of forest products.
John Mutorwa, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, says this happens particularly in the northern communal areas and the ministry is clamping down on it.
Recently, a foreign national was arrested and appeared in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court for illegal harvesting of forest products. After he was granted bail, he allegedly absconded, the minister said.
Mutorwa also expressed concern about the increase in uncontrolled veld fires.
The minister said that Namibia has ratified the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Forestry.
In a circular to the ministry’s management, he said: “This basically means that the SADC Protocol on Forestry has become part and parcel of Namibia’s relevant domestic laws.”
Namibia is thus legally obliged to abide by and implement the provisions of the protocol. He did not elaborate on the details of the protocol.
Mutorwa further expressed concern about legally confiscated forest products. “It is also an eyesore to observe in some parts of the country piles and piles of confiscated forest products, literally occupying the spaces of most, if not all, Directorate of Forestry’s regional offices.”
He singled out the Katima Mulilo and Rundu regional offices. “Why are such products not promptly auctioned or sold so that the State can derive some income from these State assets or property?