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Namibian land resettlement program gives hope to farmers

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- It was 11:30 a.m. and the sun was at its peak. Paulina Petrus unbends as she picks up shrubs at her new resettlement farm land in Namibia’s northern Otjozondjupa region, as she clears her land out of excitement.

Petrus is one of the 25 farmers resettled onto 16 farming units in the Otjozondjupa region, officially handed over this week by Namibia’s minister of land reform Utoni Nujoma.

For a person who equates sustainable and profitable farming against the war of landlessness, she prayed to own a farm as it was limiting sharing farm land with her big family, she recalled.

“I remember the time I had to share a small plot with the entire family to produce staple food to sustain their livelihoods,” she said. “I couldn’t maximize on it.”

“I am therefore grateful to be resettled and have my own farm. Now I can produce more than I was able to do as we farmed on ancestral farm land,” she said.

“Not only will I be able to farm to sustain my livelihood, but I also plan on farming at a commercial level,” she shared with Xinhua as she revealed her plans for her new farm.

According to Nujoma, the farming units allocated through the implementation of the land reform program were of those publicized during August and October last year.

“The target is for resettled farmers to be food secure at household level and ultimately sell local products at the agricultural hubs that had been set up through ought the country and eventually export within the region and internationally. Thus making a contribution to the gross national domestic products,” said Nujoma.

The national targets are also in line with the farmers’ goals for their farms.

James Collins April, another resettled farmer, said that, like Petrus, he too has big plans for his newly acquired portion of land.

“I want to farm not only with animal, but also crop production. I want to help contribute towards the GDP of the country and I would focus on job creation,” said April.

While the gift of resettlement farms will contribute to improving the socio-economic situation of Petrus and other farmers, Petrus sees this as more than a resettlement.

“The allocation of farms through the resettlement programme is an indication of government’s commitment to address gender parity and women empowerment,” said Petrus.

“It accords a 50/50 quota in terms of opportunities to men and women. It is recognition that women have the same potential and are also working hard, just like men. I want to show the men that as women we are also capable of being productive,” said Petrus.

In the interim, as the newly resettled farmers accept their gift of the farm lands from government, Julius Neumbo, Chairperson of the Otjiwarongo Regional Council called upon the resettled farmers to make good use of the allocated farming units, and not to run them down as in the case of those previously allocated farms.

“I give you a stern warning. I will send the councilors to monitor the operations and running of those farms and to ensure that you are productive,” Neumbo warned.



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