Minister plans to streamline land redistribution process with new state-owned agency

The finance and support that black farmers needed to speed up land reform would be provided by a new government agency, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana said yesterday.

The finance and support that black farmers needed to speed up land reform would be provided by a new government agency, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana said yesterday.

Though the government recently strengthened the management and recapitalised its embattled Land Bank, Xingwana appears to be looking to sidestep the problems with a state-owned enterprise by creating a new special purpose vehicle (SPV).

She said that the SPV would be a one-stop shop with functions that would include land acquisition and ongoing support for farmers to fast-track and ensure effective land reform.

"It would be an independent body that would have a particular mandate to develop the previously disadvantaged, to expand our agricultural sector and to help us to realise our target of30percent land redistribution by 2015," Xingwana said.

It would also help the government to transfer skills to the previously disadvantaged and improve agricultural production in South Africa, she said.

Ongoing support for emerging farmers that would be included in the SPV "will ensure that agricultural programmes are not dying while we are still in the process of transferring and skilling the beneficiaries of land reform", Xingwana said.

The SPV will help the government to "proactively acquire land, hold that land, develop it to a certain extent while we are training beneficiaries" and transferring skills.

The SPV is seen as a stand-alone entity that would be a land and agricultural development agency with a board, chief executive and terms of reference, Xingwana said.

The creation of such an SPV was welcomed by the agricul-tural sector, commented Laurie Bosman, head of Agri-SA, adding that it would bring role players into one unit, identify available land, "get the financial situa-tion under control" and put support services in place. - BuaNews

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