Agriculture ‘sorely needs certainty’ on property rights

Staff Writer | Jul 18, 2019
Agri SA has urged Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza to address ‘policy uncertainty around property rights’.

Agri SA president Dan Kriek welcomed Didiza's budget speech in Parliament this week, but noted that she declined to mention the government’s controversial plans for land reform, which include the drive for expropriation without compensation (EWC).

Kriek said Agri SA ‘welcomed the focus on partnerships, agricultural finance, the commercialisation of black farmers and the productive use of land’.

It was also ‘positive that the Minister has recognised the importance of ethical conduct, the need to strengthen institutions, the problems with communal property associations and the need to have a bigger focus on bio-security’.

Agri SA was ‘deeply involved in processes to develop a development financing model’, and Kriek called on Didiza to ‘join forces with the private sector in this regard’.

He added, however: ‘What the Minister did not deal with is the question of policy uncertainty around property rights. The agricultural sector sorely needs policy certainty.’

The IRR has led a sustained campaign against EWC, warning of the potentially crippling consequences for the economy as a whole, and for poor South Africans in particular.

IRR researchers have argued that, rather than being a hindrance to land reform, property rights must be seen as part of the solution. The denial of property rights was central to the disempowerment of African people in the past. Over the past decade, government policy has tended to replicate this.

The IRR argues that the focus needs to be shifted from land and land transfers to successful farming, which would mean dealing with the many problems identified by government’s own research into the all-too-frequent collapse of land reform initiatives: poor project design, shortage of funding, lack of assistance to emerging farmers, and administrative incapacity.

 

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