14 November 2012

Namibia: Failure of Some Resettlement Projects

Tsoabis — The Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alpheus Naruseb is gratified that the group of five individuals resettled on farm Tsaobismund No 85 is making good progress.

"I am quite happy with what I am seeing. My stress levels have come down after being very disappointed at what I previously saw at Farm Franken," said !Naruseb after he was briefed on the activities taking place on Farm Tsaobismund No 85.

A group of five individuals, under the Adari Nature Conservation Management Services cc were resettled on the farm in 2008 with the intention to establish a nature park.

The minister visited a number of farms recently in the Kunene, Erongo and Otjozondjupa regions to assess land use and levels of productivity, as well as to resolve disputes at resettlement farms. He was not happy with what he saw at Farm Franken No 24, near Kamanjab in the Kunene Region.

Tsaobismund resettlement farm, which specialises in game farming is located 60 kilometres south of Karibib in the Erongo Region and is managed as Tsaobis Nature Park. Tsaobis Nature Park re-opened for business on September 01 this year with 10 self-catering bungalows, and a campsite that can accommodate up to 25 people.

It has also been certified by the Namibia Tourism Board and the Hotel Association of Namibia, and is waiting for a liquor licence for the bar.

The farm is currently being transformed into a rest camp for tourists and other visitors who are taken on game drives to view leopards, jackals, oryx, springbok and gemsbok, among other game species. Plans are also afoot to introduce 4x4 recreational drives and a horseracing track.

One of the directors of Adari Nature Conservation Management Services cc, Tsudisa !Gonteb said the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has pledged to donate wildlife to the farm once it has erected a game fence.

!Gonteb requested the minister to rehabilitate at least another two boreholes so that animals can come back to the farm, including some help with the fencing. He further told the minister that even though there were challenges, and some continue to persist such as water and finances, a lot has been done at the farm.

Initially, Adari Nature Conservation Management Services cc had five active members, but now it only has three active members.

The group started the refurbishments at the farm using its own meagre savings. They have attracted an investor from Germany and have also managed to appoint an experienced farm manager. "Formerly disadvantaged Namibians never made too many inroads into the tourism and accommodation sector. The members of Adari are of the opinion that the time is opportune for members of the formerly disadvantaged groups to enter this market," said !Gonteb.

!Naruseb was happy with the progress made at the farm, and encouraged the members to continue the good work. He said the tourism and hospitality industry is highly dynamic and competitive, and therefore requires commitment and perseverance.

Meanwhile, the 10 830-hectare Farm Franken No 24 under the management of Franken Indigenous Hunting cc, was supposed to become a trophy-hunting farm, but not a shred of work has taken place since the beneficiaries were resettled there in 2009, much to the disappointment of Minister !Naruseb.

The directors and management of Farm Franken, among them United Democratic Front president and Member of Parliament Chief Justus //Garoëb, told the minister of a number of problems that made it impossible to carry out the proposals on which government granted them the farm. "There is a water problem on the farm which has led to wild animals moving away, and the fence has also been vandalised," said Chief //Garoëb. The management of Farm Franken also claim that much of the game that was on the farm has been poached. The owners have now drafted a new proposal to bring in an investor to help them get off the ground. They are also requesting the ministry to rehabilitate the water system at the farm.

A disappointed !Naruseb said that as much as fencing and water are really issues to complain about, they could have been avoided, since the farm is not in the same state it was awarded to the company three years ago. He added that he feels let down, since there are many other people who need land.

"Let's look at the most responsible way of restoring the farm. Look for an investor and work out a good management plan," he said.

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