Windhoek-The Ministry of Land Reform has spent N$1.1 billion during the last five years to acquire 155 farms measuring 836,000 hectares for the resettlement of previously disadvantaged Namibians.
Addressing staff last week, the Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, said the process of land acquisition and resettlement of previously disadvantaged Namibians is faced with many challenges and obstacles.
He said the ministry had planned to acquire some 3.1 million hectares of land during the previous strategic plan.
During the strategic plan, Nujoma said, the ministry was expected to resettle 579 previously disadvantaged landless Namibians, but only 365 were resettled on 104 farms.
He said this was due to the fact that most suitable farms (360 farms with a total size of 996,202 hectares), which were offered to the state, were waived in favour of Affirmative Action Loan Scheme candidates, thus impacting on the National Resettlement Programme for the period under review.
Furthermore, Nujoma said, there was a budgetary mismatch between appropriated funds and cost of targeted hectares of land as the price per hectare had tremendously increased and this meant that more money was spent on fewer hectares of land.
In the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), Nujoma said, the ministry is allocated N$2.1 billion for a period of five years.
This amount, he said, is not sufficient to acquire the remaining 1.9 million hectares of agricultural land needed by 2020.
“To achieve the remaining 1.9 million hectares, the ministry needs … N$2 billion per year or N$6.1 billion for three years …”, he said.
In view of the reduction in funds appropriated for land acquisition, Nujoma said the ministry has revised its targets to 224,123 hectares for the strategic plan period, in order to match the appropriated amount of N$718 million.
“This translates into 136 previously disadvantaged being resettled over the next five years, which is a drop in the ocean,” he said.
He said with the lessons learnt from the strategic plan under review, the ministry formulated the new strategic plan by setting targets that can be attained with the financial resources at its disposal.
“I would like to remind ourselves to keep in focus our terms of reference within the Harambee Prosperity Plan as together, through our various projects and programme, we can bring real tangible development for sustainable livelihoods for our people,” said Nujoma.