Resettlement farmers need training: Geingob

10 Oct 2015 15:40pm
MARIENTAL, 10 OCT (NAMPA) – Allocating farms to unskilled farmers under Government’s resettlement programme was a mistake, President Hage Geingob says.
Addressing community members at Mariental on Friday during his visit to the Hardap Region, Geingob raised the concern that the resettlement of farmers did not have the intended results. Community members also complained about the slow pace of the resettlement of farmers.
“Land must be used productively. It is a disaster at the moment. Farmers did not receive any training, but some are also excellent farmers. Farmers need training,” he noted.
Geingob reminded community members that the buying of farms is an expensive exercise for government. He proposed that retired farmers assist the government in providing training to local farmers to transform the farms into productive land. He also promised that government will look into the resettlement of farmers and might redo the programme.
Government has on several occasions expressed concern about the willing-seller-willing-buyer policy, which has not had the expected results. Land owners sell farms at exorbitant prices which causes land reform to move at a snail's pace because government does not have sufficient funds to buy land at such prices. Geingob stressed that the buying of land or farms is not easy.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, the governor of the Hardap Region Esme Isaack said whenever government acquires land in the region for resettlement purposes, the 70/30 ratio is applied. This means 70 per cent of residents in the region have preference in the resettlement process, while 30 per cent benefits members of other regions.
Inhabitants of the region however want the process sped up as people wants farms to make a living from.
Isaack said there is also concern about the slow response of the Ministry of Land Reform to the water crisis on resettlement farms, which is aggravated by the current drought.
“This hampers productivity and reverses the sustainability of viable economic subsistence by those resettled farmers as well as communal farmers,” she cautioned.
Meanwhile, residents appealed to government to accelerate development, improve service delivery, and address the high unemployment rate.
During his one-day trip to Mariental, Geingob visited the mass housing service site in the Aimablaagte residential area, the Hardap green scheme and the Keikanachab youth skills training centre.