Namibia: Govt Conditionally Lifts Timber Transport Ban

Photo: IRIN
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20 September 2019

Rundu — The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism have lifted the timber transportation suspension under certain conditions.

Agriculture Executive Director Percy Misika, in a statement co-signed by his environment counterpart Teofilus Nghitila, made the announcement yesterday.

According to Misika, after a thorough consultation with different stakeholders it was agreed to authorise only the timber that was already harvested in the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions to be transported to any wood factory in the country.

Since the beginning of April 2019, there has been a moratorium on both harvesting and transportation of timber in the country. The moratorium angered many farmers who had already cut or harvested timber to sell to mainly Chinese buyers but could no longer do so due to the ban.

"The said moratorium was triggered by an increase in illegal timber harvesting activities in the Kavango West and East regions as well as the Zambezi Region, and It was also observed that the provisions of the Environment Management Act were not adequately taken into consideration when the authorization for harvesting was issued by our Ministry," Misika said in a statement.

However timber transportation operations should be done under certain conditions, including that no fresh trees should be harvested during this time and all logs are to be loaded in the presence of officials from the two ministries.

"[Agriculture and environment] officials may be supported by other law enforcement agencies such as NamPol in carrying out these operations. The forestry officials will inspect any wood factory to obtain any required information from such institution and no unprocessed timber to be exported from Namibia," Misika noted.

"The processed timber to the final stage of use may be exported under the export licence issued by forestry officials in the country and timber coming from other countries may as well be allowed to be processed in Namibia or to be transit through Namibia."

"And this is to be done with a close supervision of forestry and other relevant authorities like Customs and MET," he added.

"Any other enquiries on this matter should be directed to the Director of Forestry Joseph Hailwa," Misika said.

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