Communal land rights protect poorer villagers

The new Minister of Land Reform, Hon Utoni Nujoma addressing the villagers at Otjetjekua when their new multipurpose kraal was inaugurated.

Villagers in the Okongo and Otjetjekua districts formally received their land right certificates from the new land reform ministry, at the end of April. Conferring communal land rights serve to protect the interest of villagers allowing them a guarantee of utilisation and occupation.

In the framework of the Programme for Communal Land Development (PCLD), the Minister of Land Reform, Hon. Utoni Nujoma handed over land right certificates and infrastructure to farmers in Okongo and Otjetjekua respectively. This milestone handover ceremony was witnessed by Ambassador Raúl Fuentes Milani of the European Union and Christian Grün, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy. The ceremony was also attended by Traditional Authorities, Regional Governors and Councillors of the Ohangwena and Omusati regions.
A total of 12 multipurpose kraals, 222 kilometre external and internal fences, 21 upgraded and installed boreholes, and 11 kilometre water pipeline reticulation were handed over to the two communities in the designated areas measuring a total of 97,000 hectares at a total cost of close to N$25 million.
The PCLD is a 5–year tripartite development initiative that is jointly funded by the European Union, the German Government of the Namibian Government. The PCLD is financially supported with approximately N$500 million. Other regions such as Kavango, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and Zambezi are next on the list to benefit from this important development initiative that was launched in June 2014.
The main objective of the programme is to increase commercial utilization of land in the communal areas. The overriding achievement of the programme is the security of land tenure for all beneficiaries, their family members and sub-leasers; the provision of incentives for farmers to invest in their farms and farming cooperatives to invest in their farms and; ensure long lasting benefits – thus uplifting the living standard of many people in the communal land.
The farmer support programme is another complimentary initiative that is funded by European Union and Germany through GIZ and Agribank. This component of the PCLD will go a long way in ensuring that the beneficiaries receive the necessary training that will enable them to farm commercially, produce quality products and market them locally and internationally.
It is expected that that farmers will take up the challenge and take care of the infrastructure and preserve the economic potential of their natural resources for the benefit of their families, the entire community and the future generations. The infrastructural developments were planned in consultation with the beneficiaries through a local level participatory planning process which is a holistic bottom-up developmental approach.