Government bought 34 of 357 farms availed in 2014/15

20 Jul 2018 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 20 JUL (NAMPA) – During the 2014/15 financial year, 357 farms were made available to the State for purchase under the willing buyer-willing seller scheme, but only 34 farms were purchased.
It was recommended that the remaining 323 farms be waived in favour of the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia.
In the preceding financial year, 260 farms were also recommended for waiving, bringing the total to 583 during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years.
The cumulative landmass of the land waived during the periods under review is approximately 777 737.3 hectares, according to the 2013/14 and 2014/15 annual reports of the Land Reform Advisory Commission (LRAC) tabled in the National Assembly by the land reform minister last week.
“Due to some farms being found unsuitable for resettlement purposes, the LRAC recommended that such farms be waived by the minister,” the 2014/15 report states.
Before waiving or recommending for purchase, the commission receives offers from various farm owners.
The farms are then assessed for their land use and suitability for resettlement purposes (animal husbandry or crop farming).
When the commission finds a given farm suitable, it asks the land reform ministry and resettlement valuers to value the farms for possible purchase.
The number of farms offered to the State for purchase during 2014/15 per region were 29 in Khomas; 58 in Otjozondjupa; 18 in Omaheke; 151 in Hardap; 53 in //Kharas; seven in Oshikoto; 23 in Kunene and 18 in Erongo.
During the 2014/15 financial year, the commission experienced several challenges in executing its mandate.
The commission pointed to insufficient land being available for resettlement against the high number of applications.
“The willing buyer-willing seller principle of land acquisition does not provide Government with more farms that are suitable for resettlement to cater for many applicants,” Peter Amutenya, the commission’s chairperson says in the report.
Another challenge is that some of the resettlement farms remain unoccupied due to non-existent, non-functional or dilapidated water supply infrastructure, Amutenya added.
Illegal sub-leasing of resettlement farming units is another dilemma they face which leads to overstocking and land degradation.