28 January 2013

Namibia: Community Wants New Green Scheme

Zone Village — The Kavango Region could soon be home to its eighth government green scheme project and if approved it will be the third during President Hifikepunye Pohamba's tenure.

Zone villagers wrote a proposal to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to establish a green scheme project at an identified site some 30 kilometers from Nkurenkuru in western Kavango.

The 1800-hectare area was identified by the villagers in an attempt to create jobs and bring about much needed development in the area.

Having facilitated the opening of the Ndonga Linena and Sikondo green schemes - chances of the envisaged green scheme getting off the ground are high as government is on a quest to boost food security in the country.

If constructed, it will be the biggest green scheme project in the country and the eighth in the region.

The headman of the Zone village says they can do with a green scheme because they have sufficient land.

"We have already identified a place where it can be built and the entire community, including the chief (Chief Daniel Sitentu Mpasi) has given us all the necessary documents," said Matheus Nyambe.

Due to the high unemployment rate in his area, Nyambe said the project will also be key when it comes to job creation.

Meanwhile, Councillor of the Mpungu Constituency, Esra Kakukuru, in which the village is located said four villages in the surrounding areas will directly benefit from the project.

"If the project is established it will contribute significantly to the provision of food in the country. The community members agreed to the plans and we can assure the minister that there are no occupants on the land-as you can see it is a forest," he said.

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa was upbeat about the proposal but cautious, saying, "At this point I will not promise anything because there are still several procedures we need to follow before we can come to a final conclusion."

"We need to approach the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to obtain a leasehold, do an environmental impact assessment and consult our Angolan counterparts for the use of the river since we are sharing it. It is important we inform them on how we want to utilise the water."

With the area being arable, bushy and uncultivated, the ministry will have to budget huge amounts of money for de-bushing activities.

"The project will have the same operational structure as the other green scheme projects and will be run on business principles. The community should also take note that any green scheme project is an irrigation project - not rain dependent," he explained.

He said a decision for projects of this nature are normally made within a year - if there are no hiccups.

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