Land prices frustrate Schlettwein …as Govt pays N$91m for seven farms

Home National Land prices frustrate Schlettwein …as Govt pays N$91m for seven farms
Land prices frustrate Schlettwein    …as Govt pays N$91m for seven farms

Land reform minister Calle Schlettwein is a frustrated man. 

This is due to excessive farm prices, limited financial resources and fluctuating market forces, key factors that continue to derail the country’s land acquisition and resettlement programme. 

He vented his frustration during the ministry’s recent annual planning workshop in the capital.  Schlettwein is at pains over the exorbitant farm prices and the inadequate financial resources at their disposal, which makes it impossible to achieve land acquisition and resettlement targets.

“The problem is that we have too many people to resettle, and the pressure is just growing every day. On the other hand, we have less money to buy farms to resettle our people. Also, the farm prices are higher, and that creates problems for us. So, how can we effectively run and implement a resettlement programme when we practically always run out of money for such
purposes? It is impossible to achieve our desired targets under these conditions,” stressed the minister.

Although it was the ministry’s wish to acquire more farmland for resettlement purposes last year, the ministry only bought seven farms with a combined landmass
of 33 822 hectares for N$91,4 million, which were allocated to 23 beneficiaries.

On average, each farm cost N$13 million. 

From that, one unit was allocated to four generational farm workers. Furthermore, t
he ministry last year also acquired four more farms for N$18.6 million for the Neckartal Dam Irrigation Project.




The prevailing high prices of commercial agricultural land have been identified as a factor inhibiting access to land by the targeted beneficiaries of the land redistribution programme.

It is also acknowledged that 40% of the farms offered to government have been waived due to a number of reasons, such as not meeting the suitability criteria, failure by government to accept offers within the stipulated time frame, and at times the ministry running out of funds to buy the

Farms obtained by the government for resettlement purposes are usually split into several sections, and dozens of families are resettled on what had previously been one farm.

“I must emphasise that land acquisition and our ongoing resettlement efforts remain critical for our country’s socio-economic transformation. This programme aims to rectify the past imbalances of land distribution and redistribute agricultural and commercial land to eligible landless Namibians. To be quite honest, the ministry is dealing with a daunting responsibility to resettle people, yet we are allocated less funds meant to procure farmland,” the former finance minister said. 

Namibia has around
4 000 commercial farms, and almost 1 000 of them have been acquired by previously disadvantaged Namibians since independence, some by means of private transactions and some through government-facilitated loans.

Would-be farmers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds have over the years managed to acquire farms privately, or through the Affirmative Action loan scheme from Agribank. 

In both cases, the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle applies.