WINDHOEK - Government has set aside nearly N$102 million this year to purchase commercial farms for resettlement purposes.
Although national budget documents do not provide the exact numbers of farms earmarked for purchase, they do reveal that government is considering purchasing farms in the Erongo, Khomas and Kunene regions “where the State did not purchase many farms since the inception of the Land Reform Programme”.
During the 2012/2013 fiscus the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement purchased 14 farms, at a cost of nearly N$81 million. Eighteen families were resettled on 80 262 hectares of land – three families in the Karas Region and fifteen in the Kunene Region.
“The number falls short in comparison to the number of households that require land for agricultural purposes and for settlement,” the Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Theo Diergaardt, said during the ministry’s annual staff address in February.
For the period to 2015/16 government intends to identify a mechanism that would enable the purchase of a sufficient number of farms to meet the target of 280 000 hectares of land for resettlement. Government’s target is to redistribute 15 million hectares by 2020, and to execute that, the lands ministry needs to acquire land at the rate of 280 000 ha per annum at an annual cost of N$370 million.
The resettlement process continues to be constrained by inadequate funds, which the ministry intends to augment with the proceeds from the newly introduced land tax.
Last year the ministry received N$91.2 million for the purpose of acquiring commercial land for resettlement purposes. High prices for land in the Namibian market are another hurdle for the ministry.