Resettled farmers urged to pay lease loans

10 Sep 2014 10:40am
OMARURU, 10 SEP (NAMPA) – Lands and Resettlement Deputy Minister Theo Diergaardt has urged all resettled farmers to pay their annual lease loans.
“I am informed that some of the resettled farmers are not committed to paying their annual rental fees, and yet expect Government to repair their water infrastructure and fences.
I would kindly urge you to comply and pay your annual rental fees as the law requires you to do,” Diergaardt stated at the official opening of the two-day Erongo regional land symposium at Omaruru on Tuesday.
His ministry is currently in the process of recruiting its own water experts to help speed-up the pace at which water challenges experienced by resettled farmers is dealt with.
“Currently, we are using the services of the Ministry of Agriculture as they have expertise in water supply. I think it is a brilliant idea for us to appoint our own experts,” said Diergaardt.
He noted that the Lands Ministry, along with stakeholders such as the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank), established a post-settlement support fund with the objective of providing soft loans to resettled farmers.
“The maximum loan is N.dollars 200 000 per farmer. So far, 350 loans have been given to resettled farmers countrywide,” he noted.
Diergaardt furthermore indicated that this information is crucial for people in the regions, and therefore Government officials must ensure that they share it with community members.
The vandalism of resettlement farms in Erongo and the rest of the country was also an issue he raised, adding that community members must be taught that these farms are State property, and the traditional authorities and community members are beneficiaries who indeed need to take good care of such property.
“It is the duty and responsibility of every Namibian citizen to safeguard State property, as these farms are for you and the generations to come,” he advised.
The Erongo this year registered 341 000 land rights, five leaseholds and one permission to occupy, which has been converted into a leasehold.
“I urge you to encourage the community to register their land to secure communal land rights, as the Communal Land law requires them to do so,” he stated.
More than 50 resettled farmers, traditional authority leaders, political leaders from the region, Regional Land Board members and officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are in attendance at the symposium.
It is being hosted by the Erongo Regional Council through the office of the governor and the Lands Ministry, and is aimed at deliberating on challenges faced by resettled farmers and other land matters.
A report on the issues raised at the meeting will be provided to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement for Government’s attention.