Government needs to transfer 8.9 million hectares of agricultural land by 2030 in order to meet the National Development Plan (NDP) target, says Rural Development and Land Reform Deputy Minister Mncebisi Skwatsha.
Delivering the departmental Budget Vote speech for the financial year 201516, Deputy Minister Skwatsha said chapter 6 of the NDP sets a target of transferring 20% of agricultural land to black people by 2030.
He said 20% of the 82 million hectares of agricultural land translates into 16.4 million hectares. From 1994 to December 2014, the state transferred 7.5 million hectares, or 46% of the 16.4 million hectares, to black farmers.
“Of the 7.5 million hectares already transferred, 4.4 million hectares were redistributed land and 3.1 million hectares was restitution in settlement of land claims.
“To meet the NDP target we need to transfer another 8.9 million hectares of agricultural land by 2030,” he said on Friday.
Since 2009, government has acquired 1.76 million hectares of land. For the 201415 financial year, the department acquired 209 580 hectares, at a cost of R1.2 billion.
For the current 201516 financial year, he said, they intend acquiring 208 350 hectares at a cost of R1.253 billion. Of this, R141.19 million will be spent on acquiring land for farm dwellers, and R132.19 million for labour tenants.
According to the Deputy Minister, the intention of land acquisition is to recreate the class of black commercial farmers which was deliberately destroyed by the 1913 Natives Land Act and similar colonial and apartheid laws.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma outlined a nine point plan to ignite growth and create jobs. The second of the nine points is “Revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain”.
Recapitalisation and Development Program
Deputy Minister Skwatsha said this is the context in which the department is implementing and refining the Recapitalisation and Development Program (RADP).
The RADP was launched in 2010 with the objectives of:
increasing agricultural production
guaranteeing food security
graduating small farmers into commercial farmers and
Creating employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.
The programme was designed to help struggling land reform farms that have received insufficient support, but have the potential to become successful. He said the farms were supposed to receive technical and financial support from the department.
Since the inception of this programme, R3.2 billion has been spent on recapitalisation.
Selami Poultry in Dr Kenneth Kaunda district which received RADP money, now has a contract with Supreme Poultry to whom they sold over 270 000 birds in December 2013.
The average weight per Selami Poultry chicken was more than the industry average.
He also singled out the Mont Piquet farm near Piketberg in the Western Cape as another example of resounding success. “Exports of table grapes have increased, season to season, and are exported to more than 50 countries.
“There are 34 beneficiaries and approximately 600 temporary employees. These are just a few instances of success. There are many more good stories to tell,” he said.
Deputy Minister Skwatsha said the work on establishing the Agri-Parks is already underway, adding that the department has put aside R2 billion for the Agri-Parks.
He said R626.3 million will be used for acquisition of 185 000 hectares of strategically located land for small holder farmers who will produce within the Agri-Parks.
A further R362.8 million for recapitalisation and development of farms which form part of the Agri-Parks.
“Money will also be allocated for production of key commodities identified in the APAP for the Agri-Parks, by rural producers outside of the land reform farms. This includes rural village-based producers and owners of their own land,” he said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za