BARAMASONI, OCT. 10 – Mashare Constituency Councillor in Kavango East, Fillups Mavara earlier today said that some roads within his constituency had been rendered obsolete, making farms inaccessible to people in that area.
Mavara told people through NBC Wato Radio of Rukavango Services that his most recent inland trip within the constituency revealed that roads had been damaged owing to heavy trucks constantly hauling timber.
According to some sources, Chinese businesses in particular had targeted farms in both Kavango regions, in an attempt to source timber, with majority preferring the species scientifically known as (Guibourtia Coeosperm) locally as Usivi or Ghushivi.
The tree is known to provide good shadow both to people and animals, while its berries are a source of nutrition, and sold at the local markets by Small and Medium Enterprises. The fruit also provides dietary supplement for a wide-range of animals that include, oryx, birds, among others.
Meanwhile, the leaves of the Usivi tree – as it local known – are utilised for medicinal purposes. A man who revealed is name only as ‘John’ said he had been convinced to sell this particular tree on his property for merely six hundred Namibian dollars (N$ 600.)
“Majority of the farmers are cashing in because it is easy money,” he said.
Although there was no stern confirmation, the notion prevalent among farmers was that the trees are cut-down and shipped off to the Republic of China.
However, the activity of cutting trees is bringing worries and mixed feelings, and some have suggested that the government must intervene to stop the activities.
“We don’t know if it is legal or not: the process is not transparent on obtaining permits both for cutting and transportation,” reasoned one concerned citizen who refused to be named.
Fears are abound that this process might cause deforestation if left uncontrolled and according to John*: “people must not be allowed to sell natural trees (to Chinese nationals) while they (land-holders) are occupying the land on lease hold only. It would be better if the Chinese set-up big timber factories and create jobs to the locals instead shipping raw trees to China.”
Councillor Mavara is of the belief that the process of transporting timber and Usivi by heavy trucks is the chief catalyst for destroying almost all the roads, which has led to small vehicles struggling to access home-steads.
At the time of publication, the Forestry Ministry could not be reached for comment.