Agricultural extension services for land reform beneficiaries
Title: Agricultural extension services for land reform beneficiaries
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
During German colonial rule, most of the farmland in southern and central Namibia was allocated to white farmers. In 1991, thanks to a land reform programme, approximately 9 million hectares of agricultural land was redistributed, and white ownership fell from 98 per cent to 71 per cent.
The principle of commercial land reform is built on three pillars: the National Resettlement Programme (NRP), the Group Resettlement Schemes (GRS) and the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS). By 2020, a total of 5 million hectares is to be redistributed under NRP, and 10 million hectares under AALS.
Under the communal land reform, traditional land use rights have been registered and official certificates issued, primarily in the north of the country. In addition, very sparsely populated or uninhabited grazing land in communal areas is also being designated by the government for commercial agricultural use. The aim of the complex land reform measures is to ensure effective and sustainable use of resources, better quality of life for the beneficiaries and higher income levels for farms. With this in mind, supplementary agricultural support programmes have been initiated under which the land reform beneficiaries receive support prior to and after settlement.
Beneficiaries of the land reform programme use the resources that have been secured or allocated in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Natural resource management is more sustainable, and access to resources more equitable.
The project advises the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) on providing sufficient services of the quality required for land reform beneficiaries. MAWF staff receive specialist training to provide more professional agricultural extension services. The beneficiaries enhance their capacity for sustainable and more effective farm management. The project focuses on three areas of activity:
- At MAWF, the general conditions are improved for the provision of services to farms, and particularly to land reform beneficiaries.
- MAWF advisors offer professionalised services.
- Land reform beneficiaries make greater use of the extension services.
As a result of individual advice for land reform beneficiaries, production communities are also being acquainted with technical and administrative issues. New cooperatives and associations are thus being formed, and existing ones strengthened. The process of decentralising advisory capacity is being promoted using innovative approaches. New farmers are advised on productive and sustainable farming practices, taking into account long-term productivity and the climatic conditions. Farmers’ interest groups, such as farmers’ associations, cooperatives and training institutions, are involved, as are the Agricultural Bank and the private sector. In the medium term, the initiative is to be run independently by this broad spectrum of service providers and supporters. At local level, support for the farms is designed to encourage more farms to use the natural resources available to them in a more effective and sustainable manner.