The Namibian government through the Ministry of Land Reform has so far spent N$ 1.7 billion ($131 million) to buy 513 farms measuring 3.1 million hectares of commercial agricultural land, since independence in 1990.Ever since, 5306 previously disadvantaged families were resettled as part of the government land redistribution effort.
The government has set itself a target to acquire 5 million hectares of commercial land by 2020 through the Willing Seller – Willing Buyer Principle.
This information was revealed by Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma, during a presentation on land reform and resentment programme at State House on Thursday.
Nujoma noted that his ministry needs to buy an average 633,333 hectares per year in order to meet the targeted 5 million hectares.
He noted that the average price per hectares is N$3200 ($247), thus N$2 billion ($154 million) is required per annum and N$6.1 billion ($470 million) in the next three years to meet the demand for land.
Of the N$200 million earmarked for the land reform and resettlement programme during the 2017/18 financial year, the minister said only N$120 million is earmarked for farm purchase.
At independence in 1990, the new government inherited a skewed land distribution pattern whereby 36.2 million hectares of productive land was owned by 4664 white farmers, while 150,000 families (blacks) were occupying 33.5 million hectares of the communal land.
Meanwhile, the Special Cabinet Committee on Land issues has resolved that existing laws be amended to prohibit non-Namibians from owning agricultural land in Namibia, but rather to lease the land.
“Non-Namibians who own land will continue to own such land, until they want to sell where only Namibian nationals will be given preference to purchase,” Minister Utoni said.