Agriculture ministry to up loans to resettled farmers to N$500 000

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform is discussing raising the initial loan amount for resettlement farmers from N$200 000 to N$500 000 with the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank).

This was revealed by deputy minister Anna Shiweda in the National Assembly recently, while responding to questions by the Rally for Democracy and Progress.

Lawmaker Kennedy Shekupakela and Landless People’s Movement chief whip Utaara Mootu questioned the minister about the strategies in place to bridge the identified gaps in the current resettlement programme, such as limited access to capital, insufficient training, water scarcity and challenges in obtaining loans from commercial banks.

The two also questioned the ministry on how it plans to expedite the resettlement process to alleviate the suffering of those stranded in corridors, given the urgency of their situation.

Shiweda said in 2009, the ministry developed a post-resettlement support package in partnership with Agribank, where the ministry contributed N$30 million to the revolving fund.

She added that although the intention of the ministry is to equip the farmers, the majority of the beneficiaries of the support package are not paying back their loans.

Anna Shiweda

“The current arrears of this revolving fund facility are standing at the staggering figure of 48% of arrears. Despite the arrears, the ministry is in discussion with Agribank to look into the possibility of increasing the current amount of N$200 000 to N$500 000 without a collateral,” Shiweda added.

The minister said in addition to the financial support, the ministry provides pre- and post-training to all resettlement beneficiaries.

Responding to questions on concerns regarding corruption within resettlement committees, as raised by stakeholders, Shiweda said all the acquired farms for resettlement programmes are advertised in print media and placed at regional governor offices countrywide.

“There are regional resettlement committees in every region that are chaired by the governor of that particular region.

The committee sits every month to discuss resettlement applications and other resettlement-related issues,” she said.

She said the committee recommends suitable candidates for its specific region to the Land Reform Advisory Commission which screens all recommended applications from all 14 regions and then makes recommendations to the minister for approval.

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