Two million hectares of commercial land needed

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-Government, through the Ministry of Land Reform, still needs to acquire close to two million hectares of commercial agricultural land for resettlement purposes, according to the Revised National Resettlement Policy (2018-2027).

Overall, government aims to acquire and distribute five million hectares of commercial agricultural land and of this target, 513 commercial farms – totalling 3.1 million hectares – has already been acquired.

Government also allocated land to over 5,300 beneficiaries either as individuals, groups, cooperatives and/or group resettlement projects.

According to the revised policy, although government acknowledges in the Resettlement Policy of 2001 that it had no definite numbers of people in need of resettlement, it is now estimated that some 243,000 Namibians are in need of land.

“Therefore, using this figure as the only available official estimate, it would mean that only about 2.2 percent of this total has been reached, despite the fact that over 62.81 percent of the targeted land has been acquired for resettlement,” reads the report in part.

“Given the above state of affairs, it is important for many Namibians to acknowledge the fact there is not enough agricultural commercial land available to cover the ever-increasing number of Namibians eligible for resettlement,” the report states.

“The poverty situation of many such Namibians cannot be addressed via land reform alone, hence it is important that other avenues must be explored to meet the economic empowerment expectation of many previously disadvantaged Namibians,” it says.

It notes that government spent N$188 million during the 2015/2016 financial year to acquire 22 farms, measuring 141 million hectares for the resettlement of landless Namibians, compared to the 98,000 hectares that would be acquired for resettlement in the 2017/2018 financial year.

Addressing staff earlier this year, Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma said 78 families had been resettled on 22 farms acquired by government last year.
He said three farms, measuring just over 10,000 hectares, were awaiting final purchase by the ministry at a cost of just over N$17 million.

Further, Nujoma announced that at the time 167,034 communal land right claims had been mapped and digitised, representing 83 percent of 196,000 communal land right claims registered nationally.

According to Nujoma, a total of 103,336 customary land right claims had been registered and 92,780 certificates issued countrywide, meaning 62 percent of communal land rights had been digitised, while 90 percent of registered land rights owners had received their certificates.

He said this contributed to security of tenure of Namibians living in communal areas, which represents the majority of the Namibian people.

On top of that, Nujoma said it was the ministry’s aim to increase the registration of communal land rights, adding that efforts have been made to educate the community, in the course of which 342 communal land rights registration awareness campaigns were conducted at village level.

This awareness, he said, resulted in 8,325 communal land rights applications being received by the ministry countrywide between April and December 2016.

Additionally, he said, during the same period 11,202 applications were displayed on village maps and 14,351 communal land rights were registered.

Nujoma said in line with the ministry’s quest to provide secure tenure to all resettled farmers, a total of 36 resettlement lease agreements had been signed in the Hardap, //Karas, Omaheke, Erongo and Otjozondjupa regions.

He said to ensure sustainability in the utilisation of land resources, the ministry had developed an Integrated Regional Land Use Plan (IRLUP) for various regions. In the current financial year the ministry plans to develop the IRLUPs for Omaheke, Omusati and Oshana regions, he said.

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