Land redistribution must be backed by farmers support


Much has been said about the intricacies of land redistribution in SA and the subject is replete with nuanced and granular details that need to be considered if the process of land redistribution is to be a success.

Lack of post-settlement support has been at the heart of many arguments, with many people pointing out that land redistribution without post-settlement support is doomed and frivolous. Redistributed land lay fallow because of lack of support to farmers, especially those who are emerging. This in turn impacts badly on food security.

The efforts that the government is making in helping emerging farmers to be sustainable need to be acknowledged. Recently, the Land Development Support Unit within the Gauteng Provincial Shared Service Centre of the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development made a breakthrough by allocating livestock, including 89 pregnant cows, 30 calves and two bulls to a beneficiary at Klipfontein Farm in the Sedibeng district.

For me this is a shot in the arm towards the beneficiary in making his livestock farming sustainable. This is in addition to getting the farm from the department through the Proactive Land Redistribution Strategy, which is the strategy that the department uses to proactively acquire farms with high agricultural potential and lease them to qualifying farmers.

Furthermore, in an endeavour to further make emerging farmers reach their potential, the department has collaborated with commodity organisations such as Grain SA and the SA Grain Farmers Association and the National Emergent Red Meat Producer Organisation to provide targeted producer support to farmers in order to comply with good agricultural practices so that they can be able to penetrate the markets and sell good quality products. This is a good linear example on how land redistribution should be done.

Themba Mzula Hleko, Rosslyn Gardens, Pretoria

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