Redistributive policy

Opinion – Appropriate land reform policy promotes economic transformation

Josef Kefas Sheehama

It has been stated that land is the main source of inequality in contemporary society and in this respect Namibia is no different.

The concept of willing seller, willing buyer is a policy adopted by the Namibian government whereby those who owned land could sell it of their own accord to those who want to buy it of their own accord on the open market. The principle of willing buyer, willing seller has not worked and the Second National Land Conference calls for scaling up the implementation of an accelerated land delivery method. Land reform is important from a social and economic point of view. From a social point of view, the redistribution of land and the creation of small farms are important to promote not only equity or distributive justice, but also to increase the efficiency and productivity of agriculture. The rural poor constitute an important segment of the population. The inverse relationship between farm size and productivity implies that land reforms could increase productivity by dividing large, less productive farms into several smaller, more productive farms. If productivity under sharecropping is lower than that of owner-cultivated farms, then assigning property rights to sharecroppers will increase the productivity and efficiency of farming.

The decision of the Development Bank of Namibia to consider financing land and input-agricultural enterprises is to be applauded. DBN recognizes agriculture as one of the key enablers for the significant growth of the Namibian economy and job creation. Thanks for a job well done! Along with job creation, the sector is one of the largest employers in the economy as it is more labor intensive than other sectors. Despite the positive impact of development funds introduced by Namibia Development to address levels of market entry and concentration, it is evident that these interventions and remedies alone will not solve the problem of high concentration. persistent in this sector. Also, as this is the mandate of the Agricultural Bank of Namibia, it is important to understand how financing works in the sector and what challenges there are. Therefore, since the Development Bank of Namibia provides finance to farmers to acquire land and inputs, the DBN can play an active supplier role in acquiring and supplying these inputs and land to the agricultural enterprises they can negotiate through the coordination of resources.

Development in Namibia is guided by the Vision 2030 initiative, the Fifth National Development Plan, the Zero Hunger Strategic Review and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, all of which recognize the importance of food and nutrition security and support the initiative. Zero hunger by contributing to the Namibian campaign. to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 17. Land plays a central role in the economy. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that up to 13 million more people around the world will be pushed into food insecurity as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. With Ukrainian supplies cut off, food prices are rising across Africa.

Namibia’s food imports include various categories of vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, apples, tea, spices, wheat seeds, maize, roasting, malt, sunflower seeds and oil, margarine, ready meals, Bulgarian wheat, sweet biscuits and all types of juice. and water. Little attention is paid to communal farmers and their indigenous knowledge of food production. The Zambezi and the two Kavango regions are by far the best options as food security hubs in Namibia. All this dependence on South Africa and other countries for everything, especially food, is going to cost us dearly. If our own people, our government and whoever is concerned don’t invest in these things soon, we as a nation will be labeled as the beggar nation.

The government should focus on land reform first and put it on its agenda. The potential for improving Namibia’s economic situation if the right policies are developed and implemented. The Namibian constitution has been described as a transformative constitution because it was designed to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and basic human rights, and to improve the quality of life of all citizens and unleash everyone’s potential. Land sustains present and future generations, it is linked to spiritual beliefs, traditional knowledge and teachings, it is fundamental for cultural reproduction, moreover, land rights held in common reinforce nationality. Land reform is a major means of achieving the goals of social justice and economic progress in Namibia. It is essential not only in terms of historic redress for centuries of settler dispossession, but also in resolving the national democratic revolution in Namibia. Therefore, addressing the issue of land reform will not erode property rights, but rather ensure that the rights of all Namibians, not just those who currently own land, are enhanced.

In addition, agricultural sectors need to become more productive by adopting efficient business models and forging public-private partnerships. They must become sustainable by addressing greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste. The risks are malnutrition, hunger and even conflict. Without stable and sustainable food security, there will be a continued negative effect on human capital and this will increase government fiscal costs, with negative consequences on government public expenditure. It will also lead to stagnant economic growth in the long run. Thus, food security is at the heart of economic growth in the short and long term and must be a central element of a broader cross-sectoral strategy at national, regional and global levels.

To that end, land reform is a much more complicated process than the general public realizes, and also the majority of politicians. It is a complex process requiring a lot in terms of funding, intellectual manpower, organization, planning and execution. This requires serious research into the whole process, which the Namibian bureaucracy, unfortunately, does not seem to be interested in.

Therefore, the process also needs understanding and sympathy on the international scene. Ultimately, perhaps the main requirements are understanding and political will on the part of policy makers, coupled with commitment and perseverance on the part of those who have to do the work.

2022-06-17 Staff reporter

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