Lands Joins EU and Germany to Develop Communal Land

THE Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, European Union and the German government launched the Programme for Communal Land Development in Windhoek yesterday.

The five-year programme will be supported through a grant of Euro 17 million (about N$248 million) by the EU, as well as another Euro 11,5 million (about N$168 million) by the German government through the Kreditanstalt fuumlr Wiederaufbau (KfW) Development Bank. The programme was known as the Support to Land Reform and Infrastructure Development in Communal Areas since 2006.

Speaking at the occasion, Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alpheus !Naruseb noted that the programme is expected to stimulate private investment in, and promote the sustainable use of communal land. It should also increase agricultural production, economic growth, and contribute towards poverty alleviation.

“The investment will be the result of comprehensive planning done under the Local Level Participatory Planning (LLPP) modality, which puts local residents firmly in the driving seat to meet their own aspirations, as the government of Namibia aims to improve economic conditions on a broad basis,” he stressed.

The target is to enhance agricultural production on 900 000 hectares by the end of the programme. To date, investment has been made on an area of about 170 000 hectares, according to !Naruseb.

At the same occasion, German ambassador Onno Huumlckmann said his government considers the initial financial investment under the previous programme of more than Euro 5 million (about N$73 million) as a symbol of reciprocal goodwill and trust.

“As partners in development, we applaud the achievements attained by the Namibian government through this basket fund as paramount in achieving tenure security, fair access to land, and broad-based economic development. The major goal of the programme is to allow beneficiaries in the communal areas to improve their livelihoods,” he noted.

At the same occasion, the head of delegation of the EU to Namibia, Ambassador Rauacutel Milani, emphasised that all components of the PCLD are in support of the integration of rural communities into the mainstream economy, which is expected to lead to increased household income and contribute to a more equal income distribution in Namibia.

“The PCLD does not stop with only securing land rights, but it also provides for the development of integrated regional land use plans for all regions of Namibia, which will assist in identifying locations for the provision of infrastructure in communities,” he said.

The EU funding will be channelled through an existing basket fund of the KfW and MLR as well as through the Farmer Support Programme implemented by GIZ, together with the Agricultural Bank of Namibia.

Key areas of support for the PCLD are improving tenure security through land rights registration and granting long-term leaseholds in communal areas harmonising land uses through the Integrated Regional Land Use Plan (IRLUP) development of core farming infrastructure to increase commercialization of communal farming in selected areas, mainly through cattle farming and wildlife-related activities as well as enhancing agricultural production through farming aisory services.

Nampa

Source : The Namibian