NAU supports land reform

14 October 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) says it continues to support the government’s land reform goals, with 800 farms currently offered for sale.

NAU president Piet Gouws said at a regional meeting held in Windhoek on Friday that the government is still urgently pursuing the completion and implementation of the Land Bill.

He added that thoughtful and thorough consultation and debate are essential for the implementation of the bill.

Gouws said consultation would eliminate uncertainty and ensure that a meaningful document is tabled in line with the country’s constitution.

“The NAU continues to support, with certain reservations, the government in its land reform goal of acquiring 10 million hectares for title deed owners and five million hectares for resettlement by 2020. Our willingness is confirmed by more than 800 farms currently available for trading.”

Gouws said they believe that selected farmers benefiting from this will deliver responsible, efficient and increased production and will also contribute to the GDP, job creation and rural economic revival.

Challenges

He further said that land tax assessments have been outstanding for the past four years and it will be difficult for landowners to pay these bills due to years of drought followed by the pandemic.

“We will strive to negotiate possible instalment terms given the emergency marketing, erosion of livestock and current negative cash flow prevailing in agriculture circles.”

Gouws added that national livestock herds have decreased by 50%, saying that this offers an opportunity for grazing to recover and the improvement of the resilience of natural resources.

He further said that human-wildlife conflict due to elephants and predators is a major challenge for farmers because they struggle to absorb large-scale losses and at the same time make an increased contribution to production, rural development and growth.

Fire crisis

Furthermore, Gouws said that following a good rainy season, wildfires caused tremendous damage, destroyed thousands of hectares of precious pasture, disrupted relationships between neighbours and put production conditions under pressure.

“The causes of fires include negligence in the work situation, non-compliance with charcoal regulations and, in many cases, reckless thoughtlessness.

“Flammable materials and strong winds also make it difficult to put out fires. We will have to work hard to implement more effective communication systems, better preparation, as well as stronger leadership in areas where there are no farmers' associations to take the lead, in order to eliminate greater frustration,” he said.

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