Commercial farmers leaving SA – report

2011-04-04 08:45

Commercial farmers were leaving South Africa in droves, The Times newspaper reported today.

Farmers were leaving the country because of unbearable working conditions for neighbouring states such as Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Soviet State of Georgia, among others.

There were 120 000 commercial farmers in South Africa in 1994 and only 37 000 remained, which has led to South Africa importing some of the food it used to produce, said AgriSA vice president Theo de Jager.

The country was now starting to import grains such as wheat. It was also on the brink of importing meat and poultry, which was being produced less and less in the country.

Farmers cited new laws, unionisation of farm workers, expensive water, electricity and other necessities, a shrinking supply of arable land, and the threat of land reform as reasons for farming in South Africa becoming unsustainable.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti’s spokesman Mthobeli Mxotwa said the New Security of Tenure Bill was meant to “stop cruelty against farm workers”.

“Workers get kicked off farms and dumped along the side of the road. The Land Tenure Act and Extension of Security of Tenure Act were found [to be] toothless – evictions continued unabated.

“We decided to tighten the new bill in order to give farm workers rights. By the way, we also extended those rights to land owners.”

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