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N$22 million forest facilities inaugurated

2021-11-01  John Muyamba

N$22 million forest facilities inaugurated
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John Muyamba

NCUMCARA - The forestry ministry, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Germany, last week inaugurated 11 community forest facilities constructed at a cost of N$22 million in the two Kavango regions as well as in Zambezi and Otjozondjupa.

The construction was done in the Likweterera and Cuma community forests in the Kavango East region. As for the Kavango West, the facilities were constructed at the Ncumucara, Kahenge and Katope community forests, respectively. In the Zambezi, the facilities were constructed at the Sikanjambuka, Zilitene, Kwando, Lubuta and Sachona community forests while in Otjozondjupa, it was at the Ondjou and Nyae Nyae community forest/conservancy.

The facilities consist of offices, storage facilities and craft shops.

“Today marks a historical moment as we are gathered here at the Ncumcara Community Forest to witness the inauguration of 11 community forest facilities in different parts of the country. Exactly five years ago, we commissioned a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of community forest facilities here, and five years later, we are here to inaugurate these facilities,” said Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.

He said his ministry, in collaboration with KFW, a German development bank, through the community forest Namibia phase two project, has been supporting the construction of the community forest facilities.

“The construction of all facilities was completed at a total cost of N$22 118 582.49. I would like to appreciate the support by the German government through the German Development Bank (KfW) for supporting our local communities through the government initiative of the community forestry programme,” Shifeta noted.

Community forestry programmes have the overall goal to empower local communities through transferring rights to manage forest resources, benefit from related income as well as employment opportunities.

“This is fully complementing Namibia’s national development objectives of poverty reduction, employment-creation and enhanced environmental and ecological sustainability. Equally, this strives towards strengthening traditional and customary resource use rights,” the politician continued.

The community forest programme is part of the community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) project that aims to empower rural communities to manage, conserve and sustainably utilise forest resources.

Community forests function as grazing areas for cattle, livestock, as habitat for wildlife as well as a source of income and social security for rural populations. Protected community forests, therefore, afford a basis for the continuation of the customary lifestyle at subsistence level, and could potentially improve the level of general prosperity.

Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku during the inauguration encouraged all the community forest management bodies and the surrounding communities to embrace the new facilities and protect them against vandalism. She furthermore appealed to the ministry to provide capacity to committees managing these forests.

“Our community forests face many problems, including veld fires, the illegal logging of timber, and a lack of capacity to manage their projects. Thus, my appeal to you, honourable minister, is to support them through training,” Ausiku added.


2021-11-01  John Muyamba

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