Food security for poor, Zuma urges farmers

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

ANC president Jacob Zuma yesterday urged grain farmers to create more food security for the poor.

He also wanted the farmers to ensure smooth redistribution of 30percent of agricultural land when he met with them in Bothaville in the Free State, on the last day of GrainSA's annual two-day congress.

Zuma said: "The redistribution must include comprehensive support programmes and monitoring to assist the rural poor - farm workers, farm-dwellers and small farmers.

"When people live in constant fear of evictions, with nowhere to go, they cannot engage in productive activity or live normal lives."

Zuma said that the ANC had put forward "a progressive programme of rural development, land reform and agrarian change" where the government would provide education and health services to rural areas.

The target set out by government was 30percent of white-owned agricultural land by 2014. This amounts to 25,5million hectares.

HD van Schalkwyk, the dean of the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State, said that 13,73percent of the target had been delivered.

Van Schalkwyk said: "The government has set a target ofMarch 31 2008 for the settlement of all outstanding land restitution claims (8107), but this target looks unlikely to be met."

Meanwhile, the grain industry is facing a strike action by trade union Solidarity's 1600 members over a breakdown in wage talks.