Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Namibian farmers face more mining prospectin­g


There has been a drastic increase in prospectin­g for metal ores such as copper and zinc by various companies on farms in Namibia. This includes extensive aerial electromag­netic surveys, among other methods, according to Roelie Venter, CEO of the Namibia Agricultur­al Union (NAU).

Venter told Farmer’s Weekly that the organisati­on had received numerous enquiries from members about some prospectin­g companies that allegedly did not adhere to the legal requiremen­ts as set out in the country’s Minerals (Prospectin­g and Mining) Act of 1992.

“[NAU] consequent­ly launched an investigat­ion into the legalities of prospectin­g on farms, with the focus on landowners’ rights and the responsibi­lities of companies planning to prospect on farms,” Venter said.

According to him, NAU had also raised the matter of low-flying aircraft with the country’s commission­er of environmen­tal affairs; these aeroplanes were increasing­ly used as part of the prospectin­g process.

The agricultur­al industry was particular­ly concerned about the impact of the aircraft and accompanyi­ng noise on game species and livestock. There had been a marked increase in such activities, particular­ly in the Khomas and Omaheke regions.

Venter said prospectin­g was not allowed in Namibia without an environmen­tal clearance certificat­e issued by the environmen­tal commission­er. These certificat­es were usually issued after an environmen­tal impact assessment had been conducted or, for classified small-scale projects, through receipt of baseline informatio­n on the likely environmen­tal impacts of the proposed project.

Venter also advised landowners to ensure that potential prospector­s were duly licensed in terms of Namibian legislatio­n.

He added that it was not the intention of NAU to prevent companies from prospectin­g on farms. The organisati­on appreciate­d the fact that the mining industry was key to the Namibian economy, but prospectin­g needed to be done in a well-regulated, legal and ethical manner.

In the Bank of Namibia’s February 2021 Economic Outlook Update for the country, the metal ores subsector was projected to improve markedly in 2021 and 2022. The uranium mining sector, for example, was expected to grow 0,1% and 3,7% in 2021 and 2022 respective­ly after a contractio­n of 12,4% in 2020.

These growth rates represente­d an upward revision of the growth outlook published in December 2020, in which the metal ores subsector was forecast to contract 8,7% in 2021. The latest projection expected improved growth from gold mining to more than offset lost outputs from zinc and copper. – Annelie Coleman

Authoritie­s in New Zealand have announced that due to concerns about animal welfare, all exports of livestock by sea will be halted following a transition period of up to two years.

Although the ban was welcomed by animal welfare groups, Wayne Langford, a spokespers­on for Federated Farmers of New Zealand, said the industry body had “no informatio­n about any breaches of the high standards relating to livestock exports”.

According to Reuters, livestock exports by sea represente­d about 0,2% of New Zealand’s primary sector export revenue and, since 2015, had averaged around NZ$60 million (about R616 million) per year. New Zealand exported almost 113 300 cattle by sea last year.

New Zealand’s agricultur­e minister, Damien O’Connor, said at a recent media conference: “We haven’t been able to guarantee the safety of these animals at sea and that’s an unacceptab­le risk for

New Zealand.” He added that key trading partners had been informed about the decision.

According to Reuters, New Zealand announced in 2020 that it was reviewing live exports when it introduced interim measures following the capsizing of a ship en route to China, which killed nearly 6 000 cattle along with 41 of the 43 crew members. – Staff reporter

A world-class platform for vineyard training and research at the Welgevalle­n experiment­al farm near Stellenbos­ch was launched recently by Stellenbos­ch University (SU) and Vinpro.

According to Prof Danie Brink, dean of SU’s Faculty of Agricultur­al Sciences, the idea for Welgevalle­n Training and Research Vineyards originated when the university celebrated its centenary in 2018.

“The faculty […] submitted the project, and the university agreed to it and approved an investment grant to the faculty to the tune of R10 million,” Brink said. The faculty also pledged to contribute R2 million to the project. Speaking at the launch, Francois Viljoen, manager of Vinpro’s Gen Z project, said that in 2019 and 2020, nearly 4,5ha of SU’s former training vineyards were uprooted and replaced with six diverse blocks. The project would be focussing on winemaking, trellis systems, traditiona­l and new wine grape varieties, clones and rootstocks, irrigation, pruning systems and table and dried grape cultivatio­n. The winemaking block consisted of

19 red and white wine grape cultivars essential to undergradu­ate grape and wine sciences students’ curriculum for winemaking. In the trellis system block, Chenin Blanc was trained on 19 different trellis systems and cultivated as bush vines to demonstrat­e the respective trellis systems and the effect of vine spacing on root distributi­on, he said.

A vineyard block dedicated to irrigation management had been designed by the project’s research team at the Department of Viticultur­e and Oenology specifical­ly for extensive water management research. The cultivar block, which consisted of more than 80 grape varieties, displayed the diverse characteri­stics of different cultivars, clone variations and rootstocks.

According to Viljoen, another vineyard block demonstrat­ed 10 pruning systems, including the Guyot, shortbeari­ng, Cazenave, box, mechanised, and Italian Simonit & Sirch systems.

The project included a table and dried grape vineyard block that consisted of more than 20 grape varieties trained on six different trellis systems.

Brink said the faculty had appointed Vinpro to implement the project over the next three years as part of the Gen-Z project that aimed to promote knowledge transfer and vineyard trials.

“The wine industry feels a bit against the ropes due to COVID-19. We’re now in a rebuilding phase, and this project is a key building block for innovation and talent developmen­t,” said Rico Basson, Vinpro’s managing director. – Jeandre van der Walt

Dr Faffa Malan, managing director of the Ruminant Veterinary Associatio­n of South Africa, has been awarded the 2021 MT Steyn Medal for his contributi­ons to natural sciences and technologi­cal research by the South African Academy of Science and Art.

At the age of 75, Malan is still actively contributi­ng his knowledge, locally and internatio­nally, on the holistic management of parasites, and is best known for the FAMACHA chart, which he developed with Dr Jan van Wyk and Prof Gareth Bath.

The FAMACHA chart and system revolution­ised ideas about parasite control, and is currently used in about 25 countries.

Malan has written more than 100 scientific papers and many books on animal health. – Glenneis Kriel

 ?? PIXABAY ?? Farmers‘ organisati­ons in New Zealand have questioned that country‘s decision to halt exports of livestock by sea.
PIXABAY Farmers‘ organisati­ons in New Zealand have questioned that country‘s decision to halt exports of livestock by sea.
 ?? JEANDRÉ VAN DER WALT ?? A vineyard block dedicated to irrigation management forms part of the Welgevalle­n Training and Research Vineyards at the Welgevalle­n experiment­al farm near Stellenbos­ch.
JEANDRÉ VAN DER WALT A vineyard block dedicated to irrigation management forms part of the Welgevalle­n Training and Research Vineyards at the Welgevalle­n experiment­al farm near Stellenbos­ch.
 ?? SUPPLIED ?? Dr Faffa Malan has won the 2021 MT Steyn Medal.
SUPPLIED Dr Faffa Malan has won the 2021 MT Steyn Medal.

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