08 Jun 2015 13:50pm
KATIMA MULILO, 08 JUN (NAMPA) The reports of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies on two planned green scheme projects in the Zambezi Region will be completed by September 2015.
According to SLR environmental consultant Simon Charter, upon completion of the studies the reports will be handed over to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, which will then decide whether to go ahead or halt the Katima Farm and Liselo Irrigation Project at Katima Mulilo.
On Friday, Charter said current studies are looking into a list of potential environmental issues such as biodiversity, waste management, air quality, socio-economic matters, noise, water, soil and visual matters which are associated with the projects, should they be set up.
In September, the reports will be submitted to the environmental ministry. Based on the studies SLR has done, the ministry will then have to take a decision to go ahead or not with the proposed projects, he said.
Katima Farm and Liselo Irrigation Project will be divided into two separate sub-projects. The first will be the complete re-design and construction of the original Katima Farm, as the existing structures have either been completely removed or are in poor condition.
The farm, which previously belonged to the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), measures 350 hectares and will focus on crops such as maize, wheat and vegetables.
The Liselo Irrigation Project, a new project which is earmarked to be set up west of the town, measures 1 500 to 2 000 hectares. Here, small and medium-scale farming units will be incorporated in accordance with the Green Scheme Policy.
The projects will share bulk supply and booster pump stations, as they will eventually be operated as one large Green Scheme.
The redesign and re-construction of Katima Farm is already underway with commencement of construction envisioned for 2015. The feasibility study for Liselo is being conducted simultaneously with that of Katima Farm, but the actual construction depends on the outcome of the study, part of the document reads.
At a public meeting held on Friday to engage local small and medium-scale crop farmers, including interested and affected community members, Charter explained that the projects EIA will be divided into three phases project initiation or screening, the scoping phase and EIA phase.
In the first phase, we did site visits and identified issues which might or might not affect the projects and environment. We are now in the second phase, while the last phase will see us submitting the final reports to the ministry and getting feedback on their decision, he said.