Government yesterday started a five-day training programme for 14 resettlement farmers at Tsumis Agriculture College. The training covers animal husbandry and how best to utilise the farming units and farms that will be handed to them on Sunday.
The Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, at the handing over of allotment letters to the resettlement beneficiaries said that according to the national resettlement policy of July 2001 it is expected of the beneficiaries to be self-reliant and self-sufficient, except in the case of a drought or other disasters.
“In order to realise such policy talks about a concerted effort of people empowerment, the policy is missing no words in the meaning of the support to be offered.”
He said the policy states that the training should be able to facilitate the resettled farmers to realise their full potential in pursuing a higher level of livelihood. “That means for us to fight poverty through the production of food, livestock and small stock marketing such as sheep and goats.”
Nujoma said that from experience beneficiaries who were trained and mentored and who seriously accepted advice are successful farmers today.
He said between 2010 and 2012 a total of 877 individuals participated in different sessions including farmers’ information days, short courses, excursions and post-settlement support.
Apart from these activities, he said, another 729 farmers received training during 2013.
“All these efforts were meant to fulfil the policy statement and ensure that the resettlement farmers and other farmers from disadvantaged backgrounds are contributing successfully to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the economy of this country,” he said.
Nujoma said that since his appointment as the minister of land reform workshops were conducted to train farmers before the physical allocation of farming units.
“The first tailor-made training was conducted in November 2015, and I am proud to announce that for the first time in the history of resettlement, farmers are equipped with knowledge before they even enter their farming units,” he said.
Nujoma told the beneficiaries that various mentors and trainers have acquainted themselves with the situation on the ground and the farms allocated to them, and that they are going to get tailor-made practical training on how each unit could be utilised on an economic viability basis.
He said the training is also a good platform for the beneficiaries to get to know one another better as the ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to ensure the resettled farmers are equipped with all the relevant knowledge.
Nujoma said subleasing is not going to be tolerated as it is a crime on its own and those that want to sublease must hand the units back before the land is exhausted through that tendency. Governor of the Hardap Region Esme Izaaks, who welcomed the beneficiaries, gave the same warning.
“Let us understand each other. I don’t want to hear any request of subleasing. The land is meant for you and for your immediate family,” Nujoma said.