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Namibia’s Agriculture Ministry Seeks Private Investments for Green Schemes: Considering Specifications Review for Enhanced Participation

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform in Namibia is taking a proactive approach to attract private investors to its Green Schemes by considering a review of its specifications. The move comes after the Ministry re-advertised the Katima Mulilo-Liselo irrigation project, Zone, and Tandjieskoppie, offering a combined land area of 5,320 hectares for private investor uptake. Despite re-advertising the projects, no bids were received in the second round, prompting the Ministry to explore ways to make the schemes more appealing to potential clients.

In a statement to The Brief, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, emphasized the Ministry’s commitment to finding suitable solutions to attract investors. The primary goal is to create an enabling environment that entices private entities to participate in the development of the Green Schemes. To achieve this, the Ministry is willing to reevaluate its specifications and conditions to align them with the expectations and requirements of potential investors.

One of the key areas of focus for the Ministry is to address the concerns of interested local individuals who may lack the necessary capacity to participate in the Green Schemes. To support such locals, the Ministry aims to provide assistance and guidance, enabling them to actively engage in the projects and take charge of their own agricultural ventures. By empowering local stakeholders, the Ministry seeks to foster sustainable agricultural practices and drive economic growth at the community level.

The Green Schemes have immense potential to contribute to agricultural development and food security in Namibia. However, attracting private investors has proven to be a challenge, leading to the re-advertisement of the projects. Minister Schlettwein acknowledged the need to revise the conditions to make them more appealing while safeguarding the interests of the public entity responsible for the Green Schemes.

Among the specifications that have caused friction is the requirement for potential investors to have a minimum of N$650 million in assets and a proven track record in running green schemes. Additionally, a yearly financial turnover of not less than N$10 million is mandated. While these conditions aim to protect the significant investment and assets involved in the projects, the Ministry understands the concerns raised by potential investors and is open to softening some of the conditions while maintaining the principles of sound investment.

The Green Schemes are designed to operate on a build, operate, and transfer model, where private investors undertake the development and management of the schemes with the intention of eventually transferring them back to the government after a specified period.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform remains resolute in its pursuit of private investments for the Green Schemes. By fostering partnerships with the private sector, empowering local stakeholders, and reevaluating specifications, the Ministry aims to create a sustainable and vibrant agricultural sector that contributes to the country’s economic growth and food security. As the bidding process continues, the Ministry is hopeful that interested investors will recognize the immense potential of the Green Schemes and join hands in creating a prosperous future for Namibia’s agricultural landscape.