More than N$800,000 has been recovered in rental fees from 58 resettled farmers in the Erongo region since independence.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform says resettlement farms in the region are also experiencing water issues, defaulting on lease fees, vandalism, and a lack of infrastructure.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources is in the Erongo region on a two-day mission to find out if resettlement farms are thriving or failing.

MPs were also informed that the government bought 31 farms for resettlement purposes, which were thereafter turned into 58 farming units.

58 families were resettled, and about N$860,000 has been collected from the farmers in rental fees since independence.

The Ministry of Agriculture's Development Planner, Sarafina Haipinge, said, "About 30 farmers have been assisted with water infrastructure development and rehabilitation. In addition, boundary fence rehabilitation was completed on two resettlement farms. Assistance with infrastructure development or rehabilitation is provided for resettled farmers countrywide and depends on the availability of financial resources. This is a continuous undertaking, although farmers are encouraged to assist and meet the GRN halfway through safekeeping and maintaining infrastructure."

The head of the delegation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Vincent Mareka, stressed that the fact-finding mission is aimed at discovering challenges and successes at resettlement farms, as those enterprises are supposed to contribute to food security.

"From the few farms that were so far acquired through the programme of resettlement, what are the Namibians then doing? Are we making ample use of the land that we have? Because of challenges, we cannot also allow ourselves to be given handouts from other countries or even food. 80% of what we consume in this country comes from elsewhere, whether maize or mahangu. Except for meat, we can only produce around 28% of the eggs we use in this country. So that's how we want to see it, as well: are our people really living up to what is expected of them as farmers? What are the challenges that they are facing? Are they getting adequate support?"

The parliamentarians paid a courtesy call on the Governor, represented by Erongo Regional Council Chairperson Benitha Imbamba.



Renate Rengura