This month was all about celebrating the women in our lives! The vital role that they play every day and to ensure that we show our gratitude for everything that they stand for! Of course, we did that with a braai, because every woman deserves a night off! As we celebrated Women's month, we also cheered to the announcement of the country moving to level 2 of the lockdown! As things finally start to progress, we also take a moment to be grateful for everything that we have accomplished during these troubling times and how much resilience, we humans, truly have. May the month ahead only be a progression in getting the economy back on its feet!
The risk of bush fires is causing conflict between charcoal producers and neighbouring farm owners who are not burning charcoal.
Hence the NAU visited the Director of Forestry, Mr Joseph Hailwa, on 28 July 2020 to find a solution towards preventing bush fires that are mainly caused by charcoal burning.
Mr Hailwa said that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism had launched a national programme to detect, prevent and suppress bush fires during the fire season between July and January. The ministry also started creating fire breaks on the borders between regions prone to fires, including Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Khomas.
The Directorate Forestry of the Otjozondjupa region in Otjiwarongo facilitated a meeting with stakeholders which included the Namibia Charcoal Association the
Kalkfeld Farmers Associations
, the Namibian Farmers Association and the Otjiwarongo Neighbourhood Watch. All the stakeholders agreed that during the fire season charcoal must be burned in a central area on the farm instead of having single kilns scattered throughout the farm. At these central burning* areas, the necessary precautions can be taken such as clearing open spaces, permanent supervision and the presence of fire-fighting gear.
These recommendations were given to the Director of Forestry for further consideration and implementation. The Director told the NAU that his office would look into practical ways to include these recommendations in the harvest permit conditions. Mr Hailwa said that this would be implemented within a week by means of an internal memorandum to all Forestry regional offices.
Stakeholders and farmers are encouraged to report charcoal producers to the NCA who do not adhere to the rules and who endanger the environment. The NCA will then consult with the Directorate Forestry accordingly.
*NCA clarification: The correct terminology should be cluster burning. This is where a number of charcoal workers work together in a specific area so that it is properly cleared, while someone is always at hand, close to the kilns. This makes it possible for several clusters to be spread over the farm. Central burning in itself is not a viable option on many farms, added Michael Degé, NCA manager.