Reho Communal Farmers Feel Left Out

COMMUNAL farmers in and around Rehoboth feel they are losing out on the allocations of resettlement farms under the government’s land reform programme.

For the past 11 years, according to the residents, only one communal farmer has been allotted a resettlement farm, although government has since 1990 acquired 76 farms in the Hardap region through the willing-seller willing-buyer system.

“The redistribution of wealth, especially the finite resource called land, is so unequal or non-existent. We are totally left out of the resettlement programme despite government’s slogan that ‘nobody must be left out,” the residents stated in a statement issued this week.

According to the frustrated farmers, only one inhabitant from Kalkrand has benefited from the country’s land redistribution programme.

“In the absence of an acknowledged traditional authority (under which residents living in and around Rehoboth resort) it has become impossible for the communal land farming community in and around Rehoboth to acquire a piece of land or any land rights at all,” the statement further reads.

According to the statement, communal farmers are forced to farm on town lands which they claimed are 200% overstocked. It further said all land in the Rehoboth area belongs to commercial farmers.

This, they added, aggravates the sense of marginalisation and exclusion among the Rehoboth communal farmers.

When contacted for comment, the former land reform deputy minister Theo Diergaardt said the farmers, at the beginning of this year, had expressed their concerns regarding their alleged exclusion from the land distribution programme at a meeting in Rehoboth.

“They have raised valid points, and this was communicated to the minister who now heads the ministry,” said Diergaardt, pledging to the communal farmers that their concerns will be looked at.

Source : The Namibian