Tobacco and Maize project not implemented - Shifeta

The Namibia Oriental Tobacco Company will have to renew its environmental clearance certificate to continue with its tobacco and maize project after the certificate expired last year.

This was confirmed by environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, who said that the company never renewed the certificate which was issued nearly four years ago.

“The environmental clearance certificate was issued in December 2014 for a period of three years. The proponent applied for 10 000 hectares of land of which 9 000 hectares as for irrigation to be cultivated into phases over a number of years.”

“However the project was never implemented also due to other factors. When considering applications for environmental clearance such as this, it is important that the ministry considers the socio-economic potential and benefits of these projects particularly the need to create decent employment, enhance local level value addition and to deliver our economic base. This is why the environment is defined in its broadest sense in the Environmental Management Act to include both the natural and human environment which includes social and economic factors,” he said.

Shifeta also said with regard to projects in the Liselo area in the Zambezi region, the ministry has received applications for environmental clearance for two different projects in the area.

The ministry received an application for Katima farm and Liselo irrigation project, while the second application is for a tobacco and maize farm project which was submitted by Namibia Oriental Tobacco.

“The Katima farm and Liselo irrigation project was issued with an environmental clearance certificate in April 2016 for a period three years. These projects cover an area of about 1 500 to 2 000 hectares and are divided into three units as per the green scheme policy requirements of the agriculture ministry namely small-scale farmers, medium scale farming units and commercial farming units” he said.