By Obrein Simasiku
WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement through its land acquisition and resettlement programme has resettled 90 families on 40 farms measuring over 210 000 hectares.
Eighty of those resettled by the lands ministry are youth interested in farming.
The land was acquired for over N$257 million of the N$370 million allocated for the programme, through negotiations initiated by the Farm Price Negotiation Committee, which has been formalized by the current amendments to the Agricultural Land Reform Act No. 6 of 1995 to grant land owners the right to negotiate with government on the purchase price of agricultural land.
“I am glad that we have exceeded the set target of 200 000 hectares per annum by 5%. This informs us that the several innovative approaches to land acquisition that have been introduced under the legal framework to encourage the release of land onto the market are bearing positive results,” said Alpheus !Naruseb the Minister of Lands and Resettlement.
He further stated that so far the ministry has surpassed over 50 percent of the envisaged overall land acquisition and has until 2020 to meet its targets for the land required for resettlement purposes.
Furthermore, !Naruseb said the ministry is working towards the finalization of the criteria for expropriation that will complement the willing seller, willing buyer method which was agreed upon at the land conference in1991, and once finalized will eventually form part of the regulations of the Agricultural Land Reform Act No. 6 of 1995.
“The criteria method will be pursued to address the issues of communities that do not have communal land and those farming in corridors,” !Naruseb explained.
In addition, !Naruseb urged regional deputy directors to map out clear strategies to cover all regions demonstrating priority farms for the rehabilitation of water infrastructure, adding that in order to support the programme there is a need for a data repository centre to provide information on farms that have been allocated and serviced, and form part of the budget allocation.