Green schemes seen as ‘wasted ancestral land’
Residents of three north-eastern regions say they were removed from their ancestral land to make way for agricultural projects that failed to meet expectations.
04 March 2021 | Agriculture
Inhabitants of the two Kavango regions and Zambezi Region feel their ancestral land was taken from them by the government to establish irrigation schemes and national parks, yet the land is not being used productively and they derive no benefits from it.
This is contained in the ancestral land report presented to President Hage Geingob by the committee that was commissioned to look into claims of ancestral land rights and restitution.
According to the report, people in these three regions claim to have been affected by the establishment of green schemes, as they were moved from the land for what was seen as a good cause but the land lies idle.
“Examples that were cited were the establishment of green schemes in the Kavango East and West regions to boost and enhance food security. The establishment of national parks in the Zambezi Region is another example,” the report reads.
“The deponents, however, claimed that some of the land from which they were removed remained unproductive or underutilised, leading them to ask the rhetorical question as to whether it was necessary to remove them from their ancestral land.”
The report also addresses the issue of why the green schemes are failing to live up to their expectations, citing poor income-generating mechanisms and planting crops at the wrong time.
“During the fact-finding visit, the commission visited three Green Scheme projects, and received a presentation from a staff member from the ministry of environment and tourism in Zambezi regarding national parks,” the report reads.
“The presentations and discussions about the green schemes have pointed out that the projects are facing severe challenges in achieving their intended objectives of increasing agricultural production, enhancing food security, and contributing to employment creation.”
The commission quoted a manager from one of the green schemes as saying, “We are supposed to have planted in December until Mid-January. After that, you will lose production per hectare. If the cycle of not adhering to the timeframes goes on like this, the green schemes will die, because the income will be low due to delays, and we are not making money on time.”
Agribusdev has over the years turned into a parastatal dependent on government bailouts to function.