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Financing resettlement and securing tenure: Are leasehold agreements the key to success?
Policy Brief No. 2
2010
Willem Odendaal and Wolfgang Werner

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges Livelihoods after land reform as the source of this document


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Two significant events regarding post-settlement support to resettlement farmers took place in Namibia in 2009.

The first event was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement (MLR) and Agribank in February. This agreement entails that each of these institutions will contribute N$10 million (in total N$20 million) annually to a special account which they would jointly establish, to be administered by Agribank, with the aim of ensuring that resettled farmers are able to acquire the equipment necessary to increase their agricultural production (The Land, July 2009: 2).

The second event took place in August when – nearly 15 years since Parliament passed the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act 6 of 1995 – the MLR commenced with issuing leasehold agreements to resettlement beneficiaries, beginning in Khomas Region. At the signing ceremony held at Dordabis near Windhoek, Minister !Naruseb stated that the signing of the 99-year leasehold agreements will secure tenure for resettled farmers and enable them to access loans from Agribank as well as commercial banks in the future (Namibia Economist, 28 August 2009).

While these two events are important milestones in Namibia’s resettlement programme, a few questions remain unanswered with regard to the real benefits that leaseholds will bring to resettlement beneficiaries.

To explore how land reform has impacted on poverty reduction and livelihood improvement objectives, research was carried out under the umbrella of the Livelihoods after land reform (LaLR) programme. Two other research teams conducted similar assessments in Limpopo Province in South Africa and Masvingo Province in Zimbabwe. A central issue in the research was the viability of new land-based livelihoods. Guiding questions included whether beneficiaries were able to use their land productively, whether they were able to achieve food security, and whether land redistribution in its current form is sustainable in the long run.

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