Farmers receive allotment letters

• By Rosalia David

DEPUTY Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Anna Shiweda has awarded resettlement training allotment letters to newly resettled farmers in Omaheke, Hardap, Khomas, //Kharas and Otjozondjupa regions.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Shiweda said the occasion marked yet another milestone on the calendar of the resettlement programme of the ministry as resettled commercial farmers are inducted and trained prior to taking up their farming units.

“You will agree with me that the route to resettlement is not an easy one. It requires considerable time and effort from the application to the final stage of the resettlement process. Furthermore, it calls for dedication, commitment, patience and determination from the applicants.”

She further stated that as an illustration of the resettlement process, it is important that farming units are identified for resettlement with potential farmers who should apply to be resettled. 

“This translates into a total of 42 applications per farming unit. These 42 applications are then brought before the Land Reform Advisory Commission to identify and select only one most suitable applicant among the 42 applicants. As you may appreciate from this illustration, the application process for resettlement is inclusive and participatory as no region is left out and all regional stakeholders are represented in the selection Committees,” she added.

Shiweda said the Ministry of Agriculture has planned and set aside this week to provide a platform for the newly resettled farmers who were allocated land on the acquired, planned and demarcated six farms with 13 units to acquaint themselves with the process and receive first hand introductory training. 

In regards to farm resettlement for war veterans, Shiweda said two farms were identified in the Otjozondjupa Region, namely Farm Mon Desir No. 166 and Portion of Farm Eldorado No. 165 where three veterans were resettled. 

“It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, because of its technical expertise in the field of resettlement, is assisting the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs to identify suitable farms for war veterans resettlement under their war veterans programme,” she added.

According to the minister, this particular programme is informed by the National Resettlement Policy of 2001, where all resettlement commercial farmers are expected to be self-sufficient through a concerted effort of a series of empowerment programmes.

Through the programme, the ministry in collaboration with the Agricultural Bank of Namibia came up with various initiatives earmarked for pre and post resettlement support for resettled commercial farmers.

“Since the adoption of the pre and post resettlement support programmes, farmers have participated in different sessions, including Farmers’ Information Days, Short Courses, Excursions and Mentorship programmes in various farming disciplines.

“These post settlement intervention programmes are ongoing and all farmers are invited and encouraged to participate in such events to further boost their farming activities,” she explained.

Although farmers completed the training, Shiweda said the line ministry and Agribank would continue to be their partners through extension services and the mentorship programme.

“I must hasten to say that three days of the training you have undergone will not give you all the knowledge and skills you need to farm profitably. Farming is a process and appropriate skills come with technical experience over time.”