White farmers break silence on land congress resolutions

Following a landmark decision to do away with the wiling-buyer-wiling-seller by the land conference, white farmers have finally broken their silence on the matter after a long silence.

The farmers discussed the adopted conference resolutions at the recently held three-day agriculture outlook congress under the banner of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU).

The organisation’s president, Ryno van der Merwe was rather vague as to whether the ban on the willing buyer and seller was a radical shift and how it would impact the majority of previously advantaged farmers.

“Even though the NAU does not agree with all decisions which were taken we want to make a positive contribution towards Namibia and want to be part of the solutions of the problem.”

“The NAU re-confirms again its support and commitment to land reform in the country and would like to make an active contribution to ensure that it will lead to the sustainable productive use of all agricultural land in the country.”

“The NAU also accepts the challenge which President Geingob made to landowners about inequalities and poverty which must be overcome in the country,” he said.

Merwe added that his organisation was committed to making a difference in the quality of life of farm workers.

He said they would continue to make contributions with regard to poverty alleviation by initiating new and supporting existing socio-economic projects in which the commercial agricultural sector is already involved, including old age homes, schools, clinics and so forth.

He added that they will commit to improving the dignity of farm workers and assist those long-serving with retirement planning and provision thereof and?to get more actively involved in the support of emerging and resettled farmers.

“The NAU Congress also took with gratitude note of the President’s confirmation that all Namibians are welcome in the country and have rights and his commitment to uphold the Constitution of the country,” said van der Merwe.

The wiling-buyer-wiling-seller modus operandi is envisaged to quicken land expropriation to which government is committed to ensure that farmers would be compensated justly.

 The farmers also spoke extensively about the issue of policy certainty saying this should not hinder farmers from doing their work.

They urged the government to concentrate on making the environment farming-friendly rather than impede them from their business as well as interfering.

So far, it is not clear whether there are timelines as to when the expropriation process will begin and how many farms should be taken by when.

Some critics are convinced the newly adopted resolution did not speak to a government-led commitment to doing “business unusual” saying there should not have been compensation in the first place.

Instead, people should have been allowed to run a referendum to reach a decision on whether to compensate or not, as had been suggested by the country’s two former presidents.