Govt appeals to commercial farmers to sell land

08 Aug 2013 04:00
BERSEBA, 08 AUG (NAMPA) - The Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Theo Diergaardt on Tuesday appealed to commercial farmers in Namibia to sell part of their land to Government.
Speaking at a meeting with traditional leaders to discuss land matters in this village, Diergaardt said commercial farmers are encouraged to sell part of their land so that Government can be able to give it to previously disadvantaged Namibians in an effort to help them support themselves.
Currently, the process is very slow as only a few farmers are willing to sell their land at reasonable prices, while others want high prices for their land.
The deputy minister said despite these high demands, Government has done a good job of negotiating prices with commercial farmers, and convincing them to sell land at prices equivalent to farms’ values.
“The ministry aims to acquire 280 000 hectares of land per year. Government has now opened an avenue, where commercial farmers can negotiate the price they offer for their land.
This is done in a transparent manner, and allows the farmer to withdraw from the sales’ transaction when he or she is not satisfied with the price,” he explained.
Diergaardt stated that there are about 36 farming units which were made available for resettlement in the Karas Region, but which are unoccupied due to a lack of proper water infrastructure.
The ministry is busy rehabilitating that infrastructure.
“Once the rehabilitation of the water infrastructure is completed, beneficiaries will be requested to occupy their units within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in the withdrawal of such farming units for re-advertisement,” the deputy minister noted.
Asked what will happen in the event where the beneficiaries of resettlement farms sign lease agreements without the ministry’s approval and allow other people to rehabilitate the infrastructure at their own cost, Diergaardt said it is a tough situation, but the ministry will only follow approved lease agreements.
On a different note, the deputy minister indicated that the deadline for the registration of Customary Land Rights is February 2014, but the ministry might extend the deadline to a date still to be announced.
The extension might be done because the ministry received a number of requests from traditional authorities countrywide to extend that period.