Query: What are the general qualifying criteria for resettlement?
Response: Various criteria are used in order to select the most appropriate applicants for each farming unit. The criteria are based on a variety of factors but are designed to allow the resettled persons to earn a successful living and improve economic efficiency on the resettled farming units.
The broad conditions for selection are:
1. That the beneficiaries should be able to farm, have a background in agriculture or other related activities on which the resettlement is based.
2. Beneficiaries should be prepared to hold land under leasehold and relinquish their agricultural land rights elsewhere.
3. If the resettlement is based on animal husbandry the applicant should relocate only such a number of cattle so as not to exceed the carrying capacity of the parcel.
4. Resettled persons should be prepared to support cost recovery measures whenever they are introduced.
5. Resettled persons should adhere to all agreements and failure to farm productively can result in the cancellation of the leasehold agreement.
It is not sufficient to adhere to these conditions to be considered for resettlement.
The resettlement criteria, as stated in the National Land Policy and the National Resettlement Policy, lists a variety of groups that should benefit from the Resettlement Programme such as previously disadvantaged people and even general farm workers. However, the targeted groups and individuals have to first meet the qualifying criteria for resettlement. An applicant who does not meet the qualifying criteria is not considered for resettlement. This does not imply that persons meeting the qualifying criteria will be resettled, or are even suitable for resettlement.
a) An applicant must be a Namibian citizen.
b) An applicant must be at least eighteen 18 years of age.
c) An applicant must have no more than 150 large stock or 800 small stock.
d) An applicant must not own any land, other than for residential purposes.
e) An applicant must be literate, for proper record keeping as is required. It is important that all applicants have basic reading and writing skills. This will greatly improve their ability to manage their farming activities, manage money, administer medicines and vaccines, etc. Illiterate applicants will not be disqualified, but basic literacy and numeracy skills will be an added advantage.
Query: Why is the age restriction in applying for resettlement 18 years of age?
Response: The assumption is that persons in their prime years are more suited for resettlement, rather than older persons. At this stage they are also more likely to have gained the experience required to farm productively. The very young (younger than 21 years old) and those older than 75 are considered more risky. It is however important for the youth to be able to enter the agricultural sector if they so wish and it is also the group that might have obtained training without access to land. Agriculture is a taxing and physical activity and therefore not so suitable for the elderly or frail. Persons under the age of 18 will not be considered for resettlement.
Query: Why do I need to have an agricultural background when applying for resettlement?
Response: One of the most important criteria required for successful resettlement is the ability to farm successfully and improve productivity of the farming units. Thus, ideally persons who are experienced farmers and who are solely dependent on farming should get the highest priority. It was also determined that there was a need to get those who are trained in agriculture but had no access to land to benefit from the Resettlement Programme. Many graduates from agricultural colleges in Namibia have skills suited to farm successfully but have no access to land. Therefore, holders of relevant national certificates and national diplomas will be considered for resettlement. This is done in conjunction with taking into account the years of experience of the applicant in the farming sector. In the absence of suitable resettlement criteria it has not been possible to select beneficiaries that have been able to demonstrate the ability to farm productively on the allotments.
• Mr Chrispin Matongela, Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Land Reform, E-mail: email@example.com