Venaani bashes Govt for lack of operational green-scheme projects in Zambezi

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani says the government should be ashamed of the fact that there is no operational green scheme in the Zambezi region, despite the availability of arable land and water.

He made these remarks when he launched the PDM’s door-to-door campaign at Katima Mulilo’s Choto, Macaravan East and Macaravan West compounds last Thursday.

According to Venaani, the fact that there is no operational green scheme project in the region is an indication that the government does not prioritise it.

“It is no longer acceptable that the Zambezi region remains the poorest region just because the government has not put in concerted efforts to address the question of agricultural productivity and job absorption in the region.

“The Katima-Liselo farm is situated right next to the river, however, there is nothing going on. It is high time that the government gets the Katima-Liselo farm running for food production and job creation,” he said.

The Mafwe Traditional Authority has allocated about 1 600 hectares (ha) of land to the government for the implementation of the Katima-Liselo farm project.

However, to date, there have been no agricultural activities taking place, despite the government spending taxpayers’ money to fence and de-bush the farm.

During 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform started exploring the option of getting private partners to implement the remainder of the project due to financial constraints.

Agriculture spokesperson Jona Musheko, when approached for comment by The Namibian yesterday, noted that the ministry is in the process of awarding the Katima-Liselo farm to private investors that will have the project up and running very soon.

“Since we took over the management of the green scheme projects in 2022, we have not been given the much-needed budget to get them off the ground, as we only received 10% of the requested N$200 million. However, we understand the financial situation the country finds itself in and will do our best with the available resources,’’ he said.

Regarding the Kalimbeza rice project that has been on the brink of collapse, Musheko said the government has made about N$8 million available to restart operations.

In hopes of helping the government realise its dream of making the Zambezi region one of the food baskets of the country, four traditional authorities have made a combined total of over 23 890ha of land available to the government.

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