Farmers want to use idle resettlement farms
While farming is the backbone of the nation because everybody needs to eat, farmers have questioned how they are expected to produce food with the little land they have.
17 March 2021 | Agriculture
Farmers have requested that government allow them to make use of resettlement farms which are not currently in use in order to increase production.
Wilma Gaweses, who owns a small garden in Otjiwarongo, suggested that unproductive farms be made available for use by farmers who wish to expand their operations and increase production.
During an engagement with farmers in the Otjiwarongo constituency on Monday, Agro-Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA) managing director Lungameni Lucas shared statistics of fresh-produce production in Namibia.
According to the statistics, the country has not produced any potatoes or onions since last October.
Lucas encouraged farmers to see that as an opportunity to enter the market, as AMTA is ready to purchase these products.
“Please collect all the resettled farms where you can take farmers who are eager, who are willing to go and farm,” Gaweses suggested, adding that farmers are ready to enter into agreements with those resettled farmers who are not doing anything with the land.
“AMTA is waiting for us to supply them, and we cannot supply if there is no land,” she added.
Stating that farming is the backbone of the nation because everybody needs to eat, she asked how farmers are expected to produce with the little land they have.
She added that crops such as potatoes require about 20 hectares to be financially viable, while small-scale farmers are limited to two hectares.
“The townlands that we have here, we can convert them into productive land,” regional governor James Uerkiua responded.
He said although those gardening on townland are classified as illegal, they are still adding to the food basket.
“We as local authority and government, let us meet farmers halfway and see how can we convert these townlands into productive land that even Otjiwarongo can start to benefit from,” he said.
The chief regional officer for the Otjozondjupa Region, Agatha Mwetti, said there are obstacles in the way of procuring fresh produce from local farmers, especially when it comes to government ministries and agencies.
“We know that the heads of institutions in the regions are not the ones who approve procurement; it is done at central level.”
She cited the Namibia Defence Force, the education ministry and the police as examples.
“We want to engage the stakeholders, especially government institutions, at central level,” she said.
She added that they are writing to the relevant ministries’ executive directors to fast-track the process.
Food production is one of the key components of the integrated plan for Otjozondjupa, Mwetti said.