Swakopmund — The Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku said the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement should see that there is a balance between its land reform programme and maintaining productive land during the implementation of the government's land reform and resettlement process.
According to Hausiku, when distributing land the ministry should also advocate that recipients venture into production activities such as farming as this will enable the country to become more food secure.
"When there is no balance, conflict may occur and bloodshed is inevitable. Therefore it is important to note that, to the ordinary man and woman on the street, our government is measured by only a few of these realities which are access to land through land reform and resettlement. This is because the land reform and resettlement programme touches on basic livelihoods and changes the survival of our people," Hausiku explained.
He was addressing close to 30 officials of the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement during the opening of its four-day policy workshop currently underway in Swakopmund. The aim of the workshop is to review the land reform and resettlement process and to make changes where needed.
Hausiku said that land has social, economic and political dimensions and thus the ministry should ensure that a balance is achieved between all these attributes. He added that Namibians expect practical land accessibility and occupation, however those in charge should know that the issue of land reform cannot be successfully implemented without emphasising the issue of productivity.
"Land can only be useful and feed occupants when it is used productively and properly. The other issue is land scarcity and has limitations. Knowing that land is limited, those who are fortunate to receive land should be appreciative and make use of the land in a productive manner," he said.
According to Hausiku the government is aware of the challenges facing the land ministry in the national demand for land. "However we should be mindful that the process of land reform and land management is very expensive. It is costly to generate maps and data which is then used to ensure land is managed equitably.
"It is also imperative to establish what land is suitable for agriculture, thus having in mind the arid conditions of our country. This coupled with the severe effects of climate change such as the re-current extreme drought and floods makes land reform a challenge itself," he said.
The workshop focussed on the land reform programme since its implementation 23 years ago and will also review the national land policy as well as the resettlement policy.