There is no need to claim the communal land for commercial purposes as investors have not taken up the country’s identified undeveloped land for green schemes.
Furthermore, some of the 11 green schemes are yet to be taken up by the private sector after many years of minimal production or nothing at all.
The government has indicated that public bids for the three brownfield projects of Tandjieskoppe, Zone, and Katima Liselo green schemes have also been floated in the market.
The minister of agriculture and land reform, Carl Schlettwein announced, during his annual address at the end of January 2023, saying these projects will also go on re-advertisement as the bids did not receive any response from the market.
Further market sounding will be undertaken to better pitch these opportunities to potential investors going forward.
The availability of this land has also questioned some decisions that were floated around for amendments to the Land Act that will involve giving some communal land to commercial investors.
Beyond the agricultural brownfields, the minister has also updated that the land acquisition for the Neckartal Dam Irrigation Project continues and over 11 000 hectares have been acquired.
In addition, the ministry further acquired two farms near the Neckartal Dam, with a combined size of 11 177.4 hectares at the cost of N$5.7 million to enable the development of the irrigation project.
The acquisition of the Neckartal Dam land for agricultural activities together with the identified brownfield and the existing 11 green schemes have increased the country’s demarcated land for food production.
If utilised, they can solve the country’s food insecurity and increase export capacity.
Schlettwein has called for intensifying local food production to reduce dependence on imports for food.
The ministry said they have carried out annual agro-assessments in the seven major Communal Crop Growing Regions of the country, providing crucial information for planning and decision-making.
He indicated that a total of 31 866 farmers were capacitated on crop production, horticulture, livestock production and rangeland management through training, demonstrations, farm visits and training activities at various centres.
Over 14 951 communal farmers (5 745 males and 9 206 females) have benefited from subsidised mechanised services.
The ministry said it has created awareness and provided subsidised agricultural production inputs to horticulture and poultry producers.
Schlettwein has also updated that the land resettlement policy which is under public scrutiny in terms of beneficiaries and utilisation is being revised, adding the policy is being revised to inject secure conditions for ownership and productivity obligations.
As for the green schemes, the government gave a directive for them to be handed over to the private sector after a failed attempt by the ministry of agriculture and its failed entities to utilise the land profitably.
Schlettwein explained that giving some of the schemes to the private sector is to enable real empowerment and productive utilisation, effective utilisation of the Green Schemes through leveraging private sector participation.
So far the Uvhungu Vungu Dairy Project is awarded to a joint venture of private operators, three other schemes of Ndonga Linena, Uvhungu Vhung and Orange River Irrigation Project are at the adjudication stage.
The remaining three schemes, namely Shadikongoro, Sikondo and Etunda have not yet been advertised and remain with the ministry. Email: email@example.com