Resettled farmers receive loans

The Ministry of Land Reform is implementing a Post Settlement Financing Support Programme that will provide finance at negotiated interest rates to resettled farmers on the outskirts of Windhoek. The Deputy Minister of of Land Reform, Hon. Bernadus Swartbooi said this last weekend at the second Khomas Resettlement Farmers’ day where farmers meet to share information on land matters in the region. Resettled farmers in the Khomas region meet with various agricultural experts to share key baseline information on what is expected of them in terms of farming productively. Issues relating to legal compliance to the various laws and regulations guiding the resettlement programme were also discussed. The Programme allows for a co-financing agreement with Agribank regarding post settlement support to resettled farmers that led to the forming of a Post Settlement Support Fund of N$30 million. To date the Ministry has acquired a total of 9 farms within the Khomas Region, and a total of 34 families have been resettled. Officially introduced last year, the resettlement financing support Programmes covers the //Kharas, Otjozondjupa, Erongo and Khomas Regions with the intention to replicate the initiative to all the Regions in our country. The maximum loan amount is limited to N$200,000 per farmer and more than 350 loans were disbursed to resettlement farmers country wide. Swartbooi said that the Ministry is aware that the resettlement process and farming in a new area sometimes requires social and economic adjustment. He added that the formative stages farmers experiences various challenges which requires one to be resilient and at times it is a challenge. “It is with this view that the Ministry strive to create opportunities to enable the farmers to settle down and get down with the business of farming.” A Farmers Support Project started in May 2007 also focused on training of previously disadvantaged farmers and resettled farmers were financially supported by the European Union and implemented by the Joint Presidency Commission of the Namibia Agricultural Union and the Namibia National Farmers Union since September 2009.  The German Government also continued to support the initiative and it is now a Project under the Ministry of Land Reform together with Agribank in partnership with the three farming Unions. “The farms that you are currently on were contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and it is the Ministry’s focus that this land is not taken out of production, that this land continues to produce, provide employment, eradicate poverty and generally improve your livelihoods”, Swarbooi said. In order to achieve the objectives of the resettlement programme which is geared towards improving the welfare of the resettled farmers through increased productivity, post settlement support for resettled farmers is a priority. The Ministry provides post settlement support in the form of four major projects, Rehabilitation of Water Infrastructure, Post Settlement Financing Support Programme, Farmers (Training) Support Programme and Fencing of resettlement farms.