24 Jan 2019 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 24 JAN (NAMPA) The Ministry of Land Reform spent N.dollars 164 684 645.60 on the acquisition of 16 farms measuring 320 200.24 hectares during the 2017/18 financial year.
This averages N.dollars 10.3 million per farm.
The farms benefited 12 families.
This revelation was made by Land Reform Minister, Utoni Nujoma, on Thursday while addressing his ministrys employees.
The minister acknowledged that the number of farms purchased fell short of demand by the number of families that need land for various purposes.
The amount of land that is eventually acquired still falls short of the current demand as reflected by the number of applicants for advertised farms and this trend continues to have a negative impact on the overall performance of the ministry, Nujoma said.
But with a budget slashed by N.dollars 90 million from the preceding financial year, they could only procure that much, the minister added.
To address this, he said his ministry will try at all appropriate forums to motivate for additional funding under the Land Reform Programme.
However, all hope is not lost as there are several innovative approaches to acquire land under the current legal framework being introduced to encourage the release of land into the market.
Apart from the limited funds at the ministrys disposal, Nujoma highlighted the continued overpricing of agricultural land offered to the State as another area of concern.
In addition, during the period in question, the ministry also provided post-settlement services to farmers across the country and acquired solar water pumping systems that are to be installed on 170 water units that will benefit around 132 farmers.
In the meantime, four farming units in the //Kharas Region have been fitted with solar pumping systems.
Further, boreholes have been drilled at Farm Mbambi (Omaheke), Farm Wagong and Wermer (Otjozondjupa) and Farm Klein Otuwapa in Erongo, he added.
I am positive that with the continued financial support, extension services, training and related pre- and post-settlement support, our farmers make a positive impact towards their own livelihoods and the agricultural sector in general, an upbeat Nujoma said.
While ceding that the ministry is faced with many challenges, including staff shortages in critical positions, the former justice minister called on his staff to collectively work together to overcome them.