Namibia: One Namibian, One Farm 'Unlawful' | Land Portal

A PROPOSAL to introduce a policy to prevent Namibians from owning more than one farm is unlawful and will not be implemented.

This is according to an update report on the implementation of the second national land conference issued by the office of prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila at the end of last year.

The land conference held in 2018 was tasked with reviewing the resolutions of the first national land conference held in 1991 to try and find lasting solutions to Namibia's agricultural and urban land problems.

Issues of land ownership, complemented by factors such as ancestral land claims, the willing buyer - willing seller model, the expropriation of agricultural (commercial) land in the public's interest and the national land reform programme were among the topical issues at the 2018 event.

One of the key resolutions of the land conference was to direct the government to introduce a one-Namibian one-farm policy.

This proposal was meant to prevent people - especially the wealthy and politically connected - from owning multiple commercial farms at the expense of poor communities.

The Namibian has reported over the years how politicians and their proxies acquired huge tracts of commercial farms while needy farmers have to fend for their livestocks in overpopulated communal areas and in corridors.

However, the report released by the prime minister's office states that the One-Namibian, one-farm initiative will not be implemented because it is unconstitutional "to limit Namibians with regard to owning multiple farms".

The report states that those who own multiple land constitute less than 1% of farm ownership in Namibia.

According to the report, the land reform ministry has been managing multiple farm ownership constructively in-house utilising an internal criterion.

The report further revealed that the government will also not do anything to restrict the sale of farmland through subdivision by companies and any other entities.

"The eminent question under this resolution would be: Can we restrict a company from owning or selling considering the provisions of Article 16 of the Constitution? We should also consider the effect of the fact that this resolution does not draw a distinction between Namibian wholly-owned juristic persons and those of foreign nationality," the report states.

On the resolutions to expropriate foreign-owned commercial farms, the report says the land reform ministry has identified 281 farms totaling more than 1,3 million hectares which are owned by foreigners.

The ministry estimates that if the budget for land acquisition is improved, it will take 6 years to acquire the 1,3 million hectares.

The report says the government will, however, still buy such farmland based on the market value, which is prone to fluctuation.

Apart from foreign owned farms, the government was also told to expropriate all underutilised commercial land owned by Namibians.

The report says the land reform ministry is still in the process of defining what underutilised land entails.

This will be part of the updating of the agro-ecological zones (AEZ) and carrying capacity maps.

These maps will be used as a basis to determine underutilised land and be added to the category of farms to be expropriated.

The process of developing these maps, the report says, was expected to be completed by October 2020.

 

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