50 per cent of commercial farmland redistributed: GIZ

12 Jun 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 12 JUN (NAMPA) - Approximately 50 per cent of commercial farmland has been redistributed in Namibia, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) said here on Wednesday.
The GIZ?s Support to Land Reform team leader Martina Roemer made the statement during a presentation on the Farmers? Support Project (FSP), which is financially supported by Germany at a breakfast meeting organised by that country?s embassy here.
Germany, through the GIZ, has been involved in the FSP since 2009, and aims to enhance the competencies, knowledge, skills and attitudes of farmers in this country.
The project also supports farmers to improve their farming practices, and aims to enhance the interface between farmers and service providers in the agricultural industry such as with the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank).
?If you look into commercial land reform, we say this is a success story for the country in that 50 per cent of the land is redistributed so far. Many people, however, say the process is too slow,? Roemer noted.
She said Namibia is doing well thus far, compared to other countries in the region.
Roemer explained that the Namibian Government aims to redistribute at least 15 million hectares of commercial farmland from previously advantaged white farmers to previously disadvantaged black farmers by 2020.
?Thus far, 7.5 million hectares of commercial farmland has been redistributed by 2012. At the same time, several reforms are also taking place in communal areas, which includes the demarcation and registration of land holdings,? she said.
Roemer added that she is sure Namibia will reach its goal to redistribute the 15 million hectares of land, although not exactly by 2020, as such processes take time.
Politically, Namibia is also quite stable, which explains its success in the redistribution of 50 per cent of land thus far.
?The willing-seller willing-buyer system also contributes to political stability.
What Namibians should also be proud of, is that discussions on land reform are driven with transparency, mainly under current Minister of Lands Alpheus !Naruseb,? stated Roemer.
The ministry and government are quite open when it comes to land reform discussions, which have led to the establishment of a national land reform forum, where stakeholders can exchange ideas on current activities by the ministry.
Roemer, however, expressed disappointment that there is no policy on post-settlement support, adding that the two ministries - Lands and Agriculture - have no inter-ministerial link.
?The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, which is now giving the land and leasing the land to the people, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, which is the national body taking up those farmers as their customers, don?t really give the farmers that support,? she stressed.
54 per cent of the FSP project is funded through the Federal Republic of Germany, while 46 per cent is funded by Agribank.