Windhoek-The Otjozondjupa Regional Resettlement Committee last year recommended only 13 applications for resettlement out of a whopping 12,054 applications received.
Otjozondjupa Governor Otto Ipinge, who delivered his state of the region address last week, said after the evaluation of the more than 12,000 applications for resettlement, it was found that only 13 applications were ultimately recommended, approved and allocated by the Ministry of Land Reform.
He said under the Ministry of Land Reform nine farms comprising 19 farming units were allocated to 13 respective beneficiaries for resettlement purposes in the region. These include six women and seven men.
Ipinge further noted that 18 resettled farmers in Otjozondjupa were upskilled during pre-settlement training held during the period under review. The purpose of the training was for beneficiaries to learn about the latest farming technologies and developments in agriculture, inclusive of policies and procedures pertaining to resettlement.
The governor said the exercise cost the ministry about N$131,000 and urged resettled farmers in the region to farm productively, adhere to lease agreements and pay their lease fees accordingly.
“I have taken note of [the difficulties faced by] those that are in the corridors, such as Cleveland, Otavi Townlands, Grootfontein Townlands and those that have been evicted from Farm Berg Aukas and other farms. Consultations have been held and considerations are on the table to find a solution to the plight of these affected fellow Namibians,” he remarked.
He also said the New Sammerau project had been fenced off and 83 hectares of land cleared to make more land available for crop farming.
Government had initiated the programme of communal land development to develop communal areas through infrastructure investment, with the aim of improving livelihoods through improved agricultural activities, he noted.
Further, he said the development of the Integrated Regional Land Use Planning policy was concluded and verification reports for local land use planning conducted in Otjiwarongo in September 2016. He said the planning had been finalised and was ready for implementation.
Ipinge emphasised the importance of access to land, saying it provides security of tenure for land claimants, their spouses and dependents, adding that it was essential that all people have a right to ownership of land, even in communal areas.
He said a total of 310 customary land rights were recorded, of which 115 were in recognition of existing customary land rights and 195 new related to customary land rights.
However, he admitted that the high demand for farmland remains a major challenge in the region and invited inhabitants of Otjozondjupa to prepare well in advance to contribute to the Second National Land Conference, scheduled for September.
The mooted land conference will deliberate on and pass resolutions on some of the pertinent issues related to land reform in the country.