News Column

Govt Urges Resettled Farmers to Make Use of Loans

July 11, 2014

THE Ministry of Lands and Resettlement has expressed concern over the N$30 million unused funds in its coffers because resettled farmers are not making use of the available loan facilities.

The lands ministry went into agreement with Agribank in 2009 to provide financial aid to farmers who were resettled under the ministry's land reform programme.

Speaking at the Khomas Resettlement Farmers' Day held at Ongombo West yesterday, where more than 30 resettled farmers were in attendance, the Director of the Regional Programme Implementation at the ministry, Alfred Sikopo, said that resettled farmers were not making use of the loans, despite the low interest rate of 4%.

"I want to urge farmers to make use of this loan, in order to improve their farming activities," he said.

However, a few farmers who spoke to The Namibian, said they were reluctant to make use of the loan as they feared they would not be able to pay it back.

The purpose of the event was to generate knowledge amongst farmers and stakeholders, to provide information regarding farming activities, tackle challenges and provide a platform for farmers to air their grievances. The event was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, as well as a representative from the Ministery of Environment and Tourism who spoke on issues regarding wildlife utilisation.

Among some of the problems that were discussed was the issue of subleasing farming units, introduction of the Farmer Support Programme and rental fee payments.

One of the problems highlighted by the farmers, was the lack of proper water infrastructure, making it a daunting task to conduct their farming efficiently.

According to Sikopo, government is in the process of developing water infrastructures at the farms to address this challenge, but said farmers would eventually be responsible for the maintenance of the facility.

Sikopo revealed that since its inception, the ministry has distributed eight farms in the Khomas region alone. "The farms are divided in 27 units. This means that 27 families have been resettled on all these farms so far," he revealed.

He said the ministry will soon be taking the Farmers' Day to other regions.

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Source: AllAfrica

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