John Grobler

 

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The Chinese are paying the Directorate of Forestry N$200 per rosewood and teak tree they harvest (quite illegally) from the Katima State Forest (thick green line in pic below).

The loggers working for the Chinese tell me they cut up to 60 trees a day; at six teams equipped with chainsaws, they can cut more than 1,500 trees a week. Deforestation is a reality.

African rosewood sells for between 5,000 and 6,500 yuan, or roughly N$9,500 to N$12,500 per cubic meter in China, meaning a small container of wood is worth N$230,400 to N$276, 624 when delivered FOB in China.

Every 6m container of rosewood that leaves from Walvis Bay contains about 30 cubic meters of wood, or about 10 rosewood trees that cost them N$2,000. The Chinese have selected the largest trees and are only cutting the core out of the trunk, so as to be able to fit in the maximum amount of wood per container.

If you deduct a total of N$60,000 per container for moving the wood from DRC to China, the Chinese and their local friends are clearing a minimum of N$200,000 per container of hard wood from our last standing teak forest in Namibia.

Director of Forestry Joseph Hailwa assured me today that he would act as soon as he has the evidence of the Chinese cutting outside of the “de-bushing” area. Turns out later that he has had that evidence for a while already, presented in a full report to him.

But just so we’re all on the same page, here is more of that evidence, collected independently from that previous report that is already on his table.

The area that is supposedly being de-bushed lies in the triangle formed by the road to Wenela borderpost and the Nampower service road just south of it. All told, it is about 4,000 ha, some of which has already been de-bushed in a previous failed attempt to introduce crop farming in the deep Zambezi river sand.

That is clearly not where the Chinese are cutting, which areas are marked as GPS waypoints in solid pink – as per the “massive felled teak” symbol. Mr Hailwa claims that he does not have access to any map or any coordinates for the area – all rather odd for the Directorate that issued that “de-bushing” and fencing tender.

It seemingly does not matter to Mr Hailwa or his Agriculture counterpart Mrs Kasheeta that the Chinese operator – Hou Xuecheng’s “New Force Logistics” – is not legally registered, nor possesses any legal harvesting permits as should have been issued to the Chinese under the Forestry Regulations Section 12.

Over to you, Mr Hailwa. Let’s see you confiscate that timber, as you said you would do if presented with positive proof. I do believe there is enough evidence now – and failing to act would suggest a certain amount of official complicity, as you surely understand.

Oh – and while we’re here, please note that the Chinese are currently trans-shipping wood yet again in the Chinese brick-makers’s yard behind NATis in Walvis Bay. I trust there is a full complement of Forestry and Customs officials present.

In the meanwhile, I am still investigating.

The Chinese are paying the Directorate of Forestry N$200 per rosewood and teak tree they harvest (quite illegally) from the Katima State Forest (thick green line in pic below).

The loggers working for the Chinese tell me they cut up to 60 trees a day; at six teams equipped with chainsaws, they can cut more than 1,500 trees a week. Deforestation is a reality.

African rosewood sells for between 5,000 and 6,500 yuan, or roughly N$9,500 to N$12,500 per cubic meter in China, meaning a small container of wood is worth N$230,400 to N$276, 624 when delivered FOB in China.

Every 6m container of rosewood that leaves from Walvis Bay contains about 30 cubic meters of wood, or about 10 rosewood trees that cost them N$2,000. The Chinese have selected the largest trees and are only cutting the core out of the trunk, so as to be able to fit in the maximum amount of wood per container.

If you deduct a total of N$60,000 per container for moving the wood from DRC to China, the Chinese and their local friends are clearing a minimum of N$200,000 per container of hard wood from our last standing teak forest in Namibia.

Director of Forestry Joseph Hailwa assured me today that he would act as soon as he has the evidence of the Chinese cutting outside of the “de-bushing” area. Turns out later that he has had that evidence for a while already, presented in a full report to him.

But just so we’re all on the same page, here is more of that evidence, collected independently from that previous report that is already on his table.

The area that is supposedly being de-bushed lies in the triangle formed by the road to Wenela borderpost and the Nampower service road just south of it. All told, it is about 4,000 ha, some of which has already been de-bushed in a previous failed attempt to introduce crop farming in the deep Zambezi river sand.

That is clearly not where the Chinese are cutting, which areas are marked as GPS waypoints in solid pink – as per the “massive felled teak” symbol. Mr Hailwa claims that he does not have access to any map or any coordinates for the area – all rather odd for the Directorate that issued that “de-bushing” and fencing tender.

It seemingly does not matter to Mr Hailwa or his Agriculture counterpart Mrs Kasheeta that the Chinese operator – Hou Xuecheng’s “New Force Logistics” – is not legally registered, nor possesses any legal harvesting permits as should have been issued to the Chinese under the Forestry Regulations Section 12.

Over to you, Mr Hailwa. Let’s see you confiscate that timber, as you said you would do if presented with positive proof. I do believe there is enough evidence now – and failing to act would suggest a certain amount of official complicity, as you surely understand.

Oh – and while we’re here, please note that the Chinese are currently trans-shipping wood yet again in the Chinese brick-makers’s yard behind NATis in Walvis Bay. I trust there is a full complement of Forestry and Customs officials present.

In the meanwhile, I am still investigating.