Resettlement farmers need training: Geingob

MARIENTAL: Government’s resettlement programme in allocating farms to unskilled farmers was a mistake, says President Hage Geingob.

Addressing community members of the town on Friday during his visit to the Hardap region, Geingob raised the concern that the resettlement of farmers did not reached the intended results. Community members also complained about the slow pace of the resettlement of farmers.

“Land must be used productively. It is a disaster at the moment. Farmers did not receive any training but some are also excellent farmers. Farmers need training,” he noted.

Geingob reminded community members that the buying of farms is an expensive exercise for government. He proposed that retired farmers assist the government in providing training to local farmers to transform the farms in productive land. He promised that government will look into the resettlement programme of farmers and might “redo” it.

Government on several occasions have noted with concern that the willing-seller-willing-buyer policy has not reap the expected results. Land owners sell farms at exorbitant prices which caused land reform to move at a snail’s pace because government does not have sufficient funds to buy land at such unrealistic prices. Geingob stressed that buying of land or farms are not easy.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same occasion, the governor of the Hardap region Esme Isaack said 70 per cent of residents in the region should have preference in the resettlement process of land situated within the region. Thirty per cent of resettlement should benefit members of other regions. She said whenever government acquires land in the region for resettlement purposes, this 70/30 ratio is applied.

She raised the concern about the slow or non-responsiveness of the Ministry of Land Reform as to the water crisis at resettlement farms, aggravated by the current drought.

“This hampers productivity and reverse sustainability of viable economic subsistence by those resettled farmers as well as communal farmers,” she cautioned.

Meanwhile, residents appealed to government to accelerate development, improve service delivery, and address the high unemployment rate.

During his one day trip, Geingob made a stopover at the mass housing service site in Aimablaagte residential area, the Hardap green scheme and the Keikanachab youth skills training centre.