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Inaccessible funding derails Oshikoto farmer’s ambitions

2021-07-06  Obrien Simasiku

Inaccessible funding derails Oshikoto farmer’s ambitions

OMUTHIYA-A farmer in Oshikoto region whose career started in 2011 says his ambitions of expanding and producing on a larger scale is slimming, because he doesn’t have access to funding.

Although he has sufficient land, financial institutions are unable to grant him assistance due to the unavailability of an allotment letter to signify ownership of the said piece land.

Edward Amadhila, who runs a horticulture project at government resettlement farm Oerwoud, under TOV Tsumeb charity organisation, told New Era that the ministry has taken long to issue them with allotment letter which can be presented to financial institutions. 

“It has been ages since we have been promised to be issued with letters to show legality. Now all we do is on a minimal scale, and considering the time we have invested we could have been grown into a big agricultural project able to feed the community, while in the same emancipate ourselves economically during these trying times,” he said.

TOV is a charity organisation based in Tsumeb and looks after vulnerable children and orphans. The charity feeds the children and then enrols them into schools and universities. 

The charity runs a poultry project and a garden consisting of various vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and green pepper. 

“As the economy heads downwards we had to find other ways to survive. Donors have pulled support. So our survival is depended on that project. It is costly but viable hence doing it on a small scale,” said Amadhila. 

“As from January 2021 we embarked on a journey to farm with crops, as we noticed a great demand of agriculture products in the market due to number of factories that closed such as Namfo as well as minimised importation of products from South Africa due to Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, after lots of considerations and consultations we decided to go major with tomatoes. Our target was 9 000 tomato plants, which would cover almost half a hectare” he explained.

Due to external factors they only planted 5 000, with a production output of 5kg per plant. Sold at N$5 per kg, Amadhila said they could make about N$250 000, but due to high cost involved in the whole production process, the money boils down to nothing, hence the need to expand. 

“With funding we aspire to farm more crops like onions and potatoes, get equipment like a tractor, shade nets and drip kits. Therefore, the ministry should fast-track process of issuing allotment letters so that we seek other avenues. In the same vein, good corporates can come and assist us.” 

Last year the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has resolved to grant property rights to farmers resettled on the piece of land as part of phase one, while phase two would address issues of those resettled illegally or given land through the local traditional authority.  The delay in issuing land rights came about after people grabbed land in the resettlement farm, while those allocated started selling off pieces, thus this brought conflict when it came to ownership.  In May this year, land reform director for resettlement and regional programme implementation Alfred Sikopo told New Era the extended delay was caused by a decision taken by the Land Advisory Commission, who advised the ministry to complete the second phase as well, so that they can look into the two issues comprehensively.

2021-07-06  Obrien Simasiku

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