15 Sep 2017 15:30pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 15 SEP (NAMPA) The tender for the irrigation of the Neckartal Dam project was temporarily suspended in light of the new Public Procurement Act, which came into effect on 01 April this year.
The tender to irrigate Phase One of the project was advertised as from last year, but was cancelled when the new Act replaced the long-standing Tender Board Act.
Phase 1 of the project covers 1 880 hectares (ha) of the total area of a planned 5 000 ha of fertile land.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry's Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev) and the Ministry of Finance are currently working on a new framework that will guide the awarding of the tender.
This is according to Agribusdev Electrical and Project Engineer Erikson Nghiitwikwa, who spoke on the matter at the Keetmanshoop Business Seminar 2017, held here on Thursday.
An advert for the tender will come out soon and we highly encourage the participation of local investors or joint ventures, Nghiitwikwa said.
The 1 880 ha will be divided into three sections namely commercial, medium-scale farmers and small-scale farmers.
The commercial section of 1 116 ha is set aside for an investor who will be responsible for the irrigation of the total land.
The medium-scale farmers will share 420 ha and the small-scale farmers 344 ha.
Feasibility studies have shown that the climate of the farming area is most suitable for table grapes and palm dates, but other crops could also be farmed, Nghiitwikwa said.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa at the same occasion said the allocation of the plots will be done publicly and transparently.
He said the units for medium and small scale farmers will be for Namibians only, while the commercial section is open to investors from inside or outside the country.
The investor is the one with big money who will provide services and create jobs, Mutorwa said.
He added that preferential treatment for the other units and jobs will be given to local people.
In terms of selection and employment, preferential treatment will be given to locals more than anybody else as they are nearer, he said.
The proposed irrigation scheme is on the B4 road between Lüderitz and Keetmanshoop, about 10 kilometres east of the Fish River.
The Keetmanshoop Business Seminar was organised by the Keetmanshoop Municipality, and held under the theme, Harnessing the value of our Land, Water and People.