New focus on farm security - minister
Bloemfontein - The government bemoans every farm killing and would tackle the problem in every province, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Tuesday.
New bill won’t stimulate farm jobs
New laws on the security of land tenure and the eviction of farm workers will not encourage farmers to employ more workers according to Agri SA president Johannes Moller.
He says that while agriculture can increase employment, meeting some of the targets of the government’s new economic growth strategy, the reality is that the new laws will actually inhibit employment growth.
He says the government has conceded that the Extension of Security of Tenure Act of 1997 and the Land Reform (Labour Tenants) Act of 1996 swung the balance of these laws in favour of workers by making evictions difficult to achieve.
“Farmers are now reluctant to employ people who could then claim protection under the Security of Tenure Act,” he says.
Moller says he does not believe that the new draft Land Tenure Security bill – which will replace the two existing Acts – would change the situation.
He says evictions will still be difficult, time-consuming and costly to obtain, as these evictions would have to follow strict procedures involving a court order and a period of notice even when the courts justified the eviction.
“Farmers will still be very wary of hiring new employees and will take into account the policy and economic implications of hiring new workers,” Moller says.
“Government should be promoting job opportunities in the agricultural sector, which has the capacity to employ more people,” he says.
The bill proposes that the right to stay on a farm should be linked to legitimate employment covered by the terms of the Labour Relations Act. A worker who was fairly dismissed would lose the right to live on the farm as well.
SA farmers set sights on Moz
Johannesburg - More South African farmers expect to receive land offers in Mozambique as they seek to expand across Africa amid uncertainty over land reform at home, an official from a mostly white farmers group said on Monday.
Farmers' group Agri SA Deputy president Theo de Jager said the Mozambique government had offered more land to lease to South African farmers to grow grains, sugar for bio-fuels as well as for livestock farming.
South Africa - Africa's biggest economy - has one of the most developed agricultural sectors on the continent and its farmers are looking to expand into other countries. Some 800 South African farmers are already farming in Mozambique.
“We expect that in the Gaza province, another 600 farmers would establish themselves. The farmers who are there are mostly medium-scale farmers and the others would be large-scale farmers,” De Jager told Reuters in an interview.
He said the additional farmers were expected to start farming in Mozambique by May next year.
South African farmers have so far received land offers from 22 African countries, with Congo offering one of the biggest land deals on the continent.
The Congo deal is part of its plan to improve food security by allowing South African farmers to lease land for up to 105 years to farm maize, soya beans, poultry and dairy.
The deal, which was expected to be concluded by the end of last month, faced some delays.
“We had a bit of a hold up with the finalisation of the individual contracts between farmers and (Congo's) department of agriculture, but we got the final template for the contract,” De Jager said.
Agriculture investment in South Africa has slowed due to the uncertainty over land reforms meant to hand over 30 percent of farm land to the country's black majority by 2014.
The programme has caused unease as white commercial farmers are unsure whether to reinvest in farms under claim by blacks, while foreign investors have been wary of proposals to limit overseas land ownership.
“In all our discussions with the Europeans, Americans and even with the Brazilians, they are all waiting to see what will pan out with the green paper on land reform,” De Jager said.
The government said last year it had managed to transfer 6 percent of land to blacks and said it will introduce new ways to speed up the process.
De Jager added the farmers' group had made good progress in its land deals talks with Gabon and Cameroon and that some farmers had started producing crops in Egypt. - Reuters
Black farmers must 'stop fighting
Bloemfontein - South Africa needs a strong National African Farmers Union that will do things differently and smartly, the Minister for Agriculture said on Wednesday night.
Nkwinti: Black farmers must speak out
Bloemfontein - South Africa needs to hear from black commercial farmers who are passionate about what they do, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Saturday.