Agribank has started auctioning off farms belonging to previously disadvantaged Namibians, with the property belonging to businessman Andreas ‘Ghenno’ Himarwa set to go under the hammer next week Thursday.
Himarwa, who reportedly bought the farm in 2000 through the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme, defaulted on a N$3.4 million Agribank loan.
New Era reported late last year that the bank was set to repossess about 179 farms belonging to previously disadvantaged Namibians.
However, finance ministry executive director Ericah Shafudah wrote to the Agribank board chairperson Michael Iyambo late last year with a request for them to consult the ministry by early this year before proceeding with repossession plans.Shafudah told New Era earlier last month that the ministry was still looking at a suitable date to address the issue with Agribank. Court documents indicate that farm Evril, situated some 170 kilometres southeast of Windhoek, Khomas region, and measuring over 5 000 hectares, will go under the hammer on 12 March.
Himarwa’s farm consists of residential facilities, including an eight-room farmhouse and two labourers’ houses, among others.
The farm also has five boreholes with three pumping engines, four powerheads and four windmills.
Himarwa is married to former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.
Informing President Hage Geingob of Agribank’s plans to repossess farms belonging to previously disadvantaged Namibians last year, Judge Shafimana Ueitele said the repossession of farms by Agribank defeats the country’s effort to transfer land to previously disadvantaged Namibians.
Meanwhile, according to the Namibian Statistics Agency (NSA) 2016 statistics, citing the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) (2016) database, previously disadvantaged Namibians own only 16% of freehold agricultural land. Of the 39,728,364 hectares of freehold agricultural (commercial) land, a total of 27,863,813 hectares (70.1%) is owned by previously advantaged (white) Namibians while 6,373,441 hectares (16%) is owned by previously disadvantaged Namibians.
Agribank through its Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS), started in 1998, grants loans to previously disadvantaged farmers to acquire farms in commercial areas.
The loans are tailored to meet the needs of emerging commercial farmers and were considered an essential component of the land reform programme. In 2017, Agribank said it is owed monies in excess of about N$500 million by mostly emerging black commercial farmers.
The same year, the bank started to list non-compliant farmers with the Information Trust Corporation (ITC) claiming that they have refused to honour their debts, and have continuously ignored invitations to make repayment arrangements.
Ever since, the bank and emerging black commercial farmers have been at each other’s throats, with farmers accusing the bank of not listening to their plight, thereby crippling them financially.
Farmers claim that their inability to repay loans is due to the persistently stubborn drought experienced across the country for the past six years, which has killed thousands of livestock, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
2020-03-05 07:08:15 | 4 months ago