Land use plan being developed for Oshana

01 December 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The agriculture ministry has finalised integrated regional land use plans (IRLUPs) for seven regions and is now starting to develop the plan for the Oshana Region.

Regions that have been finalised include //Karas, Hardap, Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa.

This is according to agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein, who was speaking during a virtual workshop for an integrated regional land use plan for Oshana.

He said land has become a scarce resource with many competing activities depending on it that must be sustainably accommodated.

Some of these activities include agricultural production, land for human settlement and other economic activities.

According to him IRLUP is an orderly or methodological assessment of current land uses and its potential for the purpose of allocating such land to the most suitable and desired land use options in a particular area or region.

Conflicting needs

IRLUP is also a means of balancing current and potential future competing or conflicting land use practices, but also the various risks associated with these practices.

Schlettwein further said that land use planning aims at creating an enabling environment for sustainable development without compromising the future demands and needs of the people of this region now and in the future.

“This process involves the improvement of the physical, socio-economic and institutional potential and constraints with respect to an optimal and sustainable use of land resources. It further provides a framework which guides the decisions related to land allocation and use.”

He said the principal objective of this project is to develop an integrated regional land use plan with a framework database with a reliable and dynamic GIS model that can be used as a basic information layer for development, conservation and management of the land use in the region and country.

The project will also come up with maps reflecting the various land uses in the region, which will enable stakeholders to determine with certainty, through a matching process, the properties of the land that are at available as contrasted against the intended land uses.

Increased demands

“Essential natural resources such as land and water are declining both in quantity and quality due to factors such as climate change, industrial competition, increased rural and urban demands, degradation and pollution.

“Coupled with the aforesaid is the issue of population growth, which is pushing the productivity capacity and availability of land resources to the edge.”

He further explained that the Environmental Management Act (EMA) requires that policies, plans and programmes prepared by an “organ of state” which might have a significant environmental impact require a strategic environmental assessment (SEA).

“To ensure environmental sustainability, IRLUPs are subjected to the process of strategic environmental assessment to ensure economic, social and ecological sustainability of the proposed land use allocations.”

Schlettwein said that this is not a duplication, but an enhancement of the IRLUP.

“The process of land use planning often involves conflicting options of land uses. It is thus the task of a SEA to help to assess and compare the different options based on the objective criteria.”

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