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From the president’s desk: Availability and sustainability of farmland key to SA’s survival

From the president’s desk: Availability and sustainability of farmland key to SA’s survival

In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa says that “broadening access to agricultural land for commercial production and subsistence farming is a national priority”.

 

 

Dear Fellow South African,

Last week the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DLRD) announced that members of the public will be able to apply to lease 700 000 hectares of underutilized or vacant state land in seven of the provinces.

Agricultural land is the mainstay of our natural resource base. The availability and sustainable use of farmland to grow crops and for animal husbandry is key to our very survival.

South Africa has vast tracts of land suitable for agricultural production, with 37,9% of our total land area currently being used for commercial agriculture.

Like many other countries, our arable land is under threat from land degradation, water scarcity and urban encroachment. We are also losing prime agricultural land through land-use changes.

Given our history, broadening access to agricultural land for commercial production and subsistence farming is a national priority.

Although the post-1994 land reform process has resulted in more land being restored and restituted to black South Africans, the pernicious effects of the 1913 Natives Land Act continue to be in patterns of farmland ownership.

The Act went far beyond dispossessing millions of people of their ancestral land.

By depriving our people of their right to own and work the land on which they depended for sustenance and livelihood, this great injustice effectively ‘engineered the poverty of black South Africans.’

It’s aim was to destroy our people’s prospects for self-reliance, independence and economic prosperity. At the most fundamental of levels, it destroyed our ability to feed ourselves.

 

 

 

Source: Independent Online

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