Developing farmers faced with challenges

2011-07-07 00:00

THE lack of funding, difficult legislation, lack of proper services support and expert support are some of the challenges that are stifling the predominantly black emerging farmers, the organised agriculture union Agri-SA said.

The organisation outlined these factors during discussions with commodity organisations and its KwaZulu-Natal affiliate union, KwaNalu, recently.

The representatives expressed general dissatisfaction with the quality of and access to agricultural advisory services.

They warned that many black farmers were doomed to fail if the challenges were not adequately addressed.

Deputy president of Agri-SA Dr Theo de Jager said many black farmers were also burdened by the pressure that farm squatters place on their resources and production.

He also called on Agri-SA to speak to the government regarding the negative impact that tenure legislation has on the production capacity of farms.

“Land reform beneficiaries have a great need for better state support. The beginner farmers complain that they are doomed to fail without proper support services, funding and expert assistance.

“Those who are beneficiaries of land reform experience problems, especially relating to access to funding, state-aid packages and agro-technical advisory services. They complain that the current three-year limit on leases for redistributed land which is transferred to the state makes it difficult to farm effectively,” said De Jager.

De Jager said Agri-SA should help the developing farmers deal with the challenges. “The unique challenges, frustrations and aspirations of beginner farmers are extensive and Agri-SA must create a platform where these can be freely expressed.

“Agri-SA’s involvement is needed because black farmers have difficulty in accessing finance to kick-start their farming operations,” he said.

Agri SA president Johannes Möller emphasised that Agri-SA’s core value was to improve and promotes agricultural interest without being mired in political affiliations of its members.

The participants expressed the need to meet more often and for the creation of a communication structure via which beginner farmers can receive timely feedback on projects and trends.

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