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Farmers accuse ministry of dragging its feet

2021-05-03  Obrien Simasiku

Farmers accuse ministry of dragging its feet
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Obrein Simasiku

Some farmers who occupy portions of a government resettlement farm in the Oshikoto region, have accused the land reform ministry of dragging its feet when it comes to issuing them with allotment letters meant to confirm their legal ownership.  

The authorities are yet to issue the concerned farmers with allotment letters, nearly eight months after land occupation at farm Oerwoud was resolved. 

Last year, the ministry resolved to allocate certificates to 151 individuals to end land disputes and resettlement chaos at both Oerwoud and Tsintsabis.

The land ministry has not issued allotment letters to the occupants for the past 28 years, due to confusion over who was legally resettled in 1992 when government bought the farms. Tsintsabis has since been declared a settlement. 

Many farmers were illegally resettled by traditional leaders, while others bought portions of land from those originally resettled on the farm. 

This act is prohibited, as the law only permits the minister of land to resettle individuals. Farm Oerwoud is situated some 50km outside Tsumeb on the Tsumeb-Mpungu road. 

“I have been resettled on this farm for over 15 years, and to date nothing has happened. Some of us were legally resettled after following due processes. I am a progressive farmer but cannot expand on my farming, because I can’t access any funding as there is no proof that I am resettled on that land,” said Edward Amadhila who runs a poultry project, horticulture and cattle farming. 

“No matter how I have tried to apply for funding from various institutions by attaching properties in Tsumeb, it still boils down to who owns the land.” 

Last year it was 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. 

Land reform director for resettlement and regional programme implementation Alfred Sikopo told New Era the Land Advisory Commission advised the ministry to complete the second phase as well, so that they can look into the two issues comprehensively. 

Explaining the situation, Sikopo said they are now busy drafting the programme on how to tackle the second phase which involves verification and fact-finding of who the owners are of the land, as some settled illegally while others bought the land. 

“That is the only hold up; else we could have perhaps completed phase one. They advised us to compile everything so that they look into the issues once and for all than in little pieces. Phase two was addressing problematic land issues,” he said. 

- osimasiku@nepc.com.na 


2021-05-03  Obrien Simasiku

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