5 February 2013

Namibia: 40 Resettlement Farming Units Lying Idle in Karas

FORTY farmers have failed to utilise the farming units allocated to them under the government's resettlement programme in the Karas Region, leaving vast tracts of land lying idle.

The Lands and Resettlement southern regions deputy director, Albertus Engelbrecht, said the farmers are reluctant to take up their plots because there is no water infrastructure.

"Limited financial resources are the main challenge. The broken water infrastructure needs to be rehabilitated," Engelbrecht said.

However, Engelbrecht was quick to say that the ministry will rehabilitate the water infrastructure at the affected farms.

"Contractors have already been hired to assess the water problems at the farms," he said.

The contractors are expected to start with their assessments this month.

Engelbrecht revealed that 277 families have been resettled on 69 farms, divided into 146 farming units, in the Karas Region.

To date only 36 resettled farmers have entered into a 99-year lease agreement with government, while 42 are reluctant to sign because of water problems, according to Engelbrecht.

Engelbrecht said the resettled farmers are unwilling to enter into the lease agreements because they feel that the government will not keep its promise to rehabilitate the water infrastructure after they have signed.

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