WINDHOEK; The amendments to the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, No 6 of 1995 need urgent attention in order for land reform in Namibia to be sped up.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement Theo Diergaardt said this during the ministry’s annual staff address held here on Monday.
While a total of 14 farms measuring more than 80 000 hectares were allocated at a cost of about N.dollars 81 million during the 2012/2013 financial year, the land reform process is too slow, the deputy minister said.
A total of 18 families were resettled – three families in the Karas Region and 15 families in the Kunene Region – over the same period.
These numbers fall short when compared to the number of households which require land for agricultural purposes, and for settlement.
“Although several innovative approaches to acquire land under the current legal framework are being introduced to encourage the release of land onto the market, the amount of land that is eventually acquired still falls short of the current demands as reflected by the number of applicants for advertised farms. This trend continues to have a negative impact on the overall performance of the ministry,” Diergaardt noted.
Efforts to motivate for additional funding under the Land Reform Programme, especially for land purchases, have been made, and the ministry will keep raising the issue at appropriate forums.
The deputy minister further stated that the recommendations of the just-concluded study on agricultural land prices in Namibia are high on the ministry’s agenda, also in an effort to speed up land purchases.
This study interrogated the issue of agricultural land prices by establishing historical trends in the said property market, and discussing the link and relationship between current macro-economic data as well as land-related legislation, policies and other factors that have an impact on the cost of agricultural land.
The study also contains information on the need for a thorough policy review to determine the exact contributing areas for adjustment in order to address escalating agricultural land prices.
“There is a need for the ministry to carry forward the discussion in the study on policy options and recommendations,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Land Forum, which serves as a platform where various key stakeholders convene to discuss and engage each other on best practices for agrarian issues, is fully operational.
The forum serves to open up organised dialogue with civil society and stakeholders to ensure a fair, just and transparent land reform process.