Fed up with the government’s land reform programme, and the perceived lack of support, black, South African farmers will demonstrate their frustrations by taking part in a planned march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the administrative capital of SA.
Afasa [The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa] and Nerpo [The National Emerging Red Meat Producers’ Organisation] are dissatisfied with the slow progress of land reform and the lack of support for black farmers. Taken to task on these issues are the departments of rural development and land reform (DRDLR), and of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF).
Almost 500 farmers, members of Afasa and Nerpo, will hand over a petition, listing demands and proposals concerning land reform and farmer support, to national government.
Short term government farm leases, denial of title, high land prices, farm caretaker contracts and farm availability are priority issues for the black farmers. The slow roll-out of support programmes, like the Recapitalization and Development Programme (Recap), the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (Casp) and various disaster relief programmes, are also causes for concern.
According to Afasa, government continues to act indecisively on land reform policies by trying to appease all parties.
The organisation now calls for more effective management of land reform, from Minister Gugile Nkwinti, of the DRDLR.
Recently, Afasa claimed that the land reform process was bogged down by a lack of capacity, inadequate budgets and excessive red tape. This, said the farmer organisation, was impeding the progress of transformation. Land was still unavailable to black farmers, and many were waiting for claims of 15 years and longer to be processed.
Afasa said billions of Rand had been wasted in farmer support programmes like Casp and Recap, which were not seen as having had a positive impact on black farmers or on the country’s agricultural output. Afasa and Nerpo estimate that 80% of the country’s domestic food supply comes from white-owned commercial farms, and the remainder mostly from imports.