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Subsistence communal farmers empowered to start farming commercially: Handover of infrastructure developments of the programme for communal development.

The minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform (MAWLR), Carl Schlettwein officiated the handover infrastructure for livestock development to the 122 members of the Amarika Farmers` Cooperative on Wednesday, 18 August 2023 at Okatumba in the Omusati region.

The Government of the Republic of Namibia together with its development partners (the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic of German through the German Development Bank) has spent a total of NAD 23.8 Million on a 40,000 hectares of land to develop a 53 kilometer of water pipeline, 6 water reticulation facilities and 56 kilometer rangeland fencing to improve their livestock management practices and market orientation for the Amarika Farmers’ Cooperative.

The purpose of these developments is to improve the livelihoods and livestock market orientation of the communal farmers and ease their farming methods so that they begin to farm commercially.

At the handover of the infrastructure, Carl Schlettwein highlighted that the main idea of bringing such developments to the people is to improve their social and economic status through agriculture production and thus enhancing their livelihoods for the better.

According to Carl, the Programme for Communal Land Development (PCLD) is one of the important programmes that the ministry is implementing in communal areas to improve the livelihoods or rural communities.

Up to date, the ministry have managed to develop infrastructure serving about 490 000 hectares of communal land in the designated areas of Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East, Kavango West, Zambezi, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions to the tune of N$ 181.1 million. This also includes 74 installed boreholes, 169 kilometers of water pipelines, 877 kilometers of fencing and 20 cattle handling facilities.

The ministry is further committed to develop similar infrastructure on communal land in the Kunene region and in Tsumkwe west area of the Otjozondjupa region.

The Amarika Farmers’ Co-operative has well expressed their gratitude and stated that such developments will make a significant in the livelihood of their members and have further managed to open two butchery shops in Okahao and Outapi.

The Okahao branch was equipped by GIZ (GIZ-f4R) which supplied meat cutters, cold rooms, display fridges, sausage fillers, working tables and a vehicle to the value of N$ 480 000 while the Outapi butchery was equipped under the NAMSIP, a project within the MAWLR to the value of N$ 197 000 to procure the biltong cabinet, deep fridge, display chiller fridge and the vacuum sealer.

Carl encouraged the members of the Amarika Farmers` Co-operative to work hard with dedication in order to reap the fruits of the infrastructure investments and contribute to the development of Namibia`s agricultural sector.