Thursday 22 March 2018
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Driving transformation through capacity building

Initiating the capacity building strategy for resettled farmers may help them to maximise the full agricultural potential of these farms.
Productive commercial farms have on numerous occasions gone to waste once in the hands of resettled farmers who often have little farming knowledge. There are high expectations that the new strategy will bolster the government-initiated redistribution of agricultural land or an overall redirection of the agrarian system of the country, which often includes land reform measures.
A document from the ministry indicates that the increased number of previously disadvantaged Namibians on commercial farms who had little or no knowledge in agriculture production necessitated the need for a capacity building strategy.
Much of Namibia’s failure on the front of agrarian reform is ascribed to the absence of a land audit before farmers a resettled; lack of farming capacity of the beneficiaries; inadequate and unstructured support services offered by various stakeholders; and the shortage of farming equipment.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) this week launched the Namibia Capacity Building Strategy for Resettled Farmers in a bid to develop the required skills for resettled farmers.
The capacity building strategy will focus on building skills of Namibian farmers who benefited from the National Resettlement Programme, Group Resettlement Schemes and the Affirmative Loan Scheme.
The strategy will be divided into two components, the pre-settlement training and post-resettlement training.
Under pre-resettlement, farmers will receive training before resettlement thus making training a prerequisite before the resettlement of a farmer.
To beneficiaries of the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme farmers (AALS), such training will be conducted at their[farmers] own prerogative.
The post-resettlement training will be done after the farmers have been settled on the farm. These training encompasses a mixture of short courses in specific topics, extension support and mentoring.
The strategy comes at a convenient time when there is increased focus on providing adequate support to resettled farmers to subsequently boost production on farms and transform the economy.
With the dawn of independence in 1990, strategies to help resettled farmers were hard to come by which led to farms that were once breadbaskets becoming white elephants.
And although government spent millions to procure farms from private, resettled farmers were left with minimal support during an extreme climate change conditions such as floods and drought.
The programme further seeks to provide a rare opportunity to all stakeholders to deliver coordinated activities to the farmers while also improving service delivery of MAWF towards resettlement and AALS farmers in the country.
To achieve this, the following interventions have been established:  stakeholder coordination platforms aligning with existing coordination platforms; identification of incentives to support resettlement and affirmative action loan scheme farmers; systematic on farm visits developed and to deliver pre and post resettlement capacity building courses to list but a few.
According to agriculture permanent secretary (PS) Percy Misika, this situation dictates that deliberate actions are taken to assist the resettled farmers.
“The commercial farms are that are currently being used for resettlement purposes are very important to maintain agricultural production and contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product. Hence drastic measures are needed to improve productivity on resettlement farms,” Misika said.
Misika called on the stakeholders in the agriculture sector to provide harmonised extension services to the new strategy as well to be purpose driven towards production.
“This strategy in the outcome of extensive and intensified consultation the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry which is mandated to promote, develop, manage and utilize agriculture, water and forestry resources systematically and vigorously conducted with all stakeholders to solicit their input during its formulation,” he said.

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