Escalating Land Prices Curb State Goals of Redistribution

17 Mar 2015 07:00am
WINDHOEK, 17 MAR (NAMPA) – Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb on Monday announced that since independence, his ministry has acquired 2.6 million hectares of agricultural land due to the ever-escalating price of land in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the much-anticipated report on the study into agricultural land prices in Namibia, !Naruseb said this factor alone is making it difficult for Government to meet its target of 15 million hectares of agricultural land by 2020.
He explained the goal is to allocate 10 million hectares trough AgriBank's Affirmative Action Loan Scheme and five million hectares through the National Resettlement Programme.
The minister said the ever-increasing price of land is an issue of great concern to the leadership of this country and all other stakeholders adding, it is also a challenge to the policy of equitable land redistribution.
Hence, Government prompted an investigation of commercial agricultural lands prices in Namibia from 1985 to mid-2012.
The report, through! Naruseb’s ministry, was funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UNFAO) at the cost of about US.dollars 200 000 (N.dollars 2.5 million).
Commending the UNFAO on their positive response to the study, the minister said the findings and recommendations of the study are concise and crosscutting, and provide information into some casual factors that have a significant impact on price escalations in the agricultural land market.
!Naruseb said the outcome of this report will among others serve as a decision and policy making tool for Government to pave the future direction and set the framework of agricultural land reform initiatives through possible policy interventions.
He explained that his ministry has already internalised the findings and recommendations of this report and some recommendations are already under implementation.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNFAO representative in Namibia, Babagana Ahmadu, said in a country emerging from colonialism, land markets are a result of both economic factors of demand and supply as well as policy initiatives.
Ahmadu said the study on land prices was commissioned to support policy decision-making on possible intervention in the property market.
He stressed that the study on land prices was conducted within the framework of the voluntary guidelines and to support Namibia's demonstrated and well-established principle of responsible governance.