21 February 2013

Namibia: Communal Communities to Benefit From Presidential Decree

THREE communal areas in the country will soon expand in size after a presidential proclamation to incorporate defined portions of State land into them.

The Oorlams of Vaalgras in the Karas Region, the Kai //Khaun of Hoachanas in the Hardap Region and Tsoaxudaman of Otjimbingwe in the Erongo Region will benefit from the exercise once the draft proclamation issued by President Hifikepunye Pohamba is passed by Parliament.

Parts of Farm Haichas measuring 12 870 hectares are expected to be incorporated into the Vaalgras communal area and Farm Klein Swartmodder measuring 7 426 hectares into the Hoachanas communal area.

The Tsoaxudaman community will receive Farm Uitdraai with a size of 5945 hectares and Farm Kamandibmund measuring 4649 hectares.

Speaking in the National Assembly yesterday, Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb said that assessments done in the three communal areas found that livestock kept there are exceeding their carrying capacities.

"This overstocking is causing overgrazing in these areas, especially around water points," he said.

Traditional authorities of the three communities will allocate the farms to farmers from the areas of their jurisdiction to lessen overgrazing in overcrowded areas.

"Once proclaimed, the farms shall accommodate more people under the Communal Land Reform Act as compared to the individual farming units under the Resettlement Programme," !Naruseb said.

The farms were acquired under the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act.

The government plans to extend the programme to communal areas such as Okombahe and Omatjete in Erongo and Ovitoto in the Otjozondjupa Region in future.

The respective traditional authorities were consulted and endorsed the proposal for adding the land to their communal areas, !Naruseb said.

He said the expansion of communal land is in line with the National Land Conference held in 1991, shortly after independence.

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