09 Jul 2017 17:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 09 JUL (NAMPA) //Kharas Governor, Lucia Basson wants the allocation of farms to be decentralised to a regional level.
Several participants at a Thursday workshop in Keetmanshoop, reviewing the National Resettlement Policy, 2001, seconded her view.
The policy in its current form provides for the Minister of Land Reform to make the final decision regarding allocation.
Basson said regional resettlement committees should have the final say on who the beneficiaries should be for farms available in that particular region.
The governor, who chairs the //Kharas Resettlement Committee, meanwhile welcomed a proposed amendment to the policy doing away with the current resettlement criteria for land allocation.
She particularly welcomed the revoking of the existing scoring system, which she said was regarded as inappropriate and non-inclusive by many Namibians.
This was also the majoritys view at the same workshop in other regions of the country, the workshop organisers, Ministry of Land Reform and its consultant, Kabbe Investment indicated.
Basson however was a lone voice in her support for the proposed sale of resettlement farms to beneficiaries after a free lease-period of three to five years.
Currently, land is leased to beneficiaries for a 99-year period.
Basson said ownership of farms would increase productivity, which is viewed as lacking on resettlement farms were once seen as economically-thriving before being purchased by Government.
The farms will also be sold at cost-price, she added.
Those opposing the proposal said it would benefit the elite only, arguing that many beneficiaries would not be able to buy the farms because of historic poverty and inability to qualify for expensive loans from AgriBank of Namibia.
The key areas the revised policy seeks to address are unequal allocation of land, poor agricultural productivity on such land and the absence of support to farmers.
Monitoring and evaluation of the resettlement process and coordination among ministries, agencies and other stakeholders will also be strengthened, Kabbe lead consultant, Knox Imbuwa said.