Lands Ministry Unveils Ambitious Scheme

The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement yesterday launched its Programme for Communal Land Development (PCLD), which seeks to improve the social and economic status of communal areas.

The launch marked the beginning of a 5-year financial cooperation between the ministry, the European Union that donated N$248 million and Germany that individually availed funds amounting to N$168 million, bringing the total investment to N$416 million. The German funds were availed through the KfW Development Bank.

At the launch, the Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb, said he was pleased to see the engagement of the private sector in land reform through the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation Trust (IRDNC) and the Meat Foundation.

“These entities have approached the ministry to render their expertise free of charge. Their services will primarily focus on rangeland management, animal husbandry, marketing and approaching farming as a business,” said !Naruseb.

“I welcome the initiative and encourage other private sector actors to follow suit,” he added.

!Naruseb said at independence the government inherited a skewed land ownership based on racial lines.

The minority had access to, and ownership of, vast tracts of land while the majority were denied that basic right, he added.

European Union Ambassador Raul Milani said the European Union was very pleased to be a partner in supporting the PCLD under the leadership of the lands ministry.

“Not only in Namibia, but the worldwide security of land tenure is recognised as a key factor in facilitating and promoting economic and social development,” said Milani. German Ambassador Otto H?ckmann said the PCLD is a major milestone in setting the policy and legal framework for social and economic development in communal areas.

“The development of communal land is a crucial component of land reform. Making communal land more productive not only improves the overall land-based livelihoods of rural communities, but also alleviates the problem of land hunger,” he added.

The objectives of the PCLD are to enhance sustainable land management practices, and to improve productivity and market-orientation through securing land rights, land use and participatory development planning.

Important pillars of the programme are to provide infrastructure investment and improve access to aisory farming services. Ultimately, the PCLD would contribute to increasing productivity and market orientation, thus aancing the integration of communal areas into the mainstream economy.

By the end of the programme over 700 000 hectares would benefit from the investment towards enhancing agricultural production.

The main target group of the PCLD are local residents in the selected key areas. Key stakeholders involved in the implementation are the Communal Land Board, traditional authorities, regional councils, conservancies, line ministries, civil society and local residents, among others.

Source : New Era