31 May 2013

Namibia: More Landless Farmers Resettled

Daweb — The Hardap Regional Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on Wednesday advised traditional leaders and some communities to disabuse themselves of the notion that they are solely entitled to land in certain parts of the country.

Hanse-Himarwa made the cautionary remarks during the official handover of a farm to some residents of Maltahöhe, and added that everyone is entitled to land no matter where they come from. Government through the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement on Wednesday handed over an 18 010 hectares farm in the Hardap Region to some Maltahöhe residents.

The farm cost N$ 8.1 million, New Era learned during the official handover proceedings. The pace of resettlement may be a source of frustration for many landless Namibians, since every citizen appears to want a piece of land to make ends meet, but it is imperative to mention that the government has to date purchased 24 farms in the Hardap Region alone, in addition to rehabilitating water infrastructure on 30 farms, she said.

"The land resettlement issue is becoming more and more a sort of hot potato. Therefore it is my view that the land distribution, resettlement be dealt with the highest level of sensitivity it deserves," Hanse-Himarwa said. The governor further called on the beneficiaries and communities in the area not to leave any available land idle. "Work hard, work to make your piece of land productive to its fullest, utilise the piece of land allocated to you in a profitable manner, so that you bring about change in your own living standard and that of those around you," she offered.

She also acknowledged the prevailing challenges, such as the extant drought, lack of grazing and poor and inadequate water provision, but urged farmers to expand and diversify and to employ new farming methods in order to survive as producers. "Do not only concentrate on goats, sheep and cattle farming, but think about gardening also, because among many other challenges such as unemployment, poverty, diseases we are facing much more intensive challenges such as the lack of food security and malnutrition," she added.

She advised beneficiaries to work together for their own development and to transform Farm Daweb into an agricultural force to be reckoned with. In his key note address the Minister of Lands Resettlement Alpheus !Naruseb explained that under the constitution all land, water and natural resources belong to the state, unless lawfully owned by individuals. "The state is entrusted to administer state land in trust for the benefit of all the communities and for the purpose of promoting economic and social development of all the Namibian people," said !Naruseb.

"I am glad to inform you that each of the three farming unit has functional water infrastructure, which makes them ready for farming business to resume today after I have handed over the farms to the beneficiaries," he said. "Government is regaining lost ancestral land by buying farms," !Naruseb further told the newly resettled group. On the current drought conditions, he advised famers to reduce the number of their livestock, especially large stock such as cattle, adding that it is vitally important to ensure no overgrazing takes place and farms are put to good use and are sustainably utilised.

!Naruseb also warned the beneficiaries not to cut down trees in order to sell wood, except with the written and express consent of the relevant authorities. "Hunting of game is prohibited except with the written consent of the ministry responsible for land and resettlement subject to permission by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism," he stressed.

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