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September 07, 2008

Namibian government to rehabilitate neglected expropriated farm

Four years after the government (Namibia) expropriated a once flourishing commercial farm, the Ministry of Land wants to rehabilitate its irrigation infrastructure.

After the expropriation, all farming including cattle raising and a multimillion-dollar flower export business was halted.

In an advertisement placed in a government newspaper, the Agriculture ministry on behalf of the Ministry of Lands invited tenders from "experienced and reputed engineering companies for the assessment of rehabilitation required for existing irrigation infrastructure" on farm Ongombo West.

The farm is situated 40 kilometres east of Windhoek. It was the first one to be expropriated in Namibia after labour unions demanded this following a dispute between the farm owner with workers.No activity is taking place on the farm, which was owned by the Wiese family for over 90 years.

For the the past four years, all infrastructure, including the large green houses for the defunct flower export business, has deteriorated. The six erstwhile farm workers, who were resettled on a portion of the Ongombo West, are unemployed. They have no money to farm and are doing temporary jobs on surrounding farms.

"The flower farming is to be revived again," an official in the Agriculture Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are aware of the delicate issue, since the previous owners exported arum lilies to the Netherlands worth several millions of Namibia dollars annually," the official stated.

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