After driving past a mealie farm on the R21 highway again, it got me thinking.
Dear Government. Please read carefully now...This post is in particular directed at the Minister of Agriculture...and her various underlings.
I have been following all the lobbying and silly suggestions (read - demands) around farming and land for quite a while now. I know a good few farmers personally, and one of these farmers in the Heidelberg GP district had his land claimed around 7 or 8 years ago, sadly this land now lies fallow, basically since then until today. So this suggestion truly comes from the heart.
From what I have noted and seen, large areas...no, make that - absolutely enormous tracts, of land are available right now as I type. This being all the state owned land along railway lines, under power pylons, alongside numerous rural roads and highways and various other obviously visible areas.
Surely all this land belonging to the state, and thus in reality belonging to all the people of South Africa can be better utilised. We are after all talking about millions of hectares of arable land here.
Can you (the government) not provide the necessary concern, and commitment to start developing this enormous, currently wasted area into something productive.
How's this for an idea ? It is not altogether new, I know this has been attempted before. But what is there to lose?
Why not plant something either edible or marketable there, instead of having to pay individuals to clean these areas of foliage from time to time?
How come you are not able to get some (read - many) of the unemployed individuals, which our current society appears to have an absolute abundance of, and enter into a 50% partnership with them. They provide the manual labour required, and this then provides them with a profit share in the planted produce. Naturally you as government will need to supply the input costs, so you (the government) then get the other 50% of the partnership, this then provides you with the balance of the profit share.
Naturally there will be much hard work involved, no my dear goverment "hard work" is not a swear word. Such as preparing said land for planting, the actual physical labour for most farming concerns is quite intense you know!, and the physical (again labour intensive) planting thereafter. There will be the need to constantly observe and correct the relevant plantings to ensure that a significant and worthwhile crop is had of whatever has been planted.
Then it will be harvest time, naturally there will again be more hard work involved here. It will again probably be labour intensive, if one takes note that this will not be hectares of massive square blocks in single areas, but random blocks of plantings here and there throughout the country.
There is an advantage to this however, in that your labour force is already fairly close to the areas that they can work at. Thus indicating that you would not need to transport them both to and from their place of work, provide housing etc etc.
After harvest, then the relevant involved partnerships can decide whether to utilise said produce, or market it for sale. Take note, that this would in all likelyhood probably be organic produce and hence it would have a higher value than commercially produced non organic goods.
This is a truly workable solution...and by providing the unemployed individuals used for this project with a profit share, you may just get some positive results here.
Then once you have large tracts of productive arable land available, you (the government) can decide if you would like to give this land away to numerous members of the population who seem so very keen on farming.
In addition, by using the above scenario (or a similar one to it) in place of land claims (in particular those aimed at active, and productive farmlands) at least you are not threatening the existing food security our country so desperately needs. You would also be creating something afresh, where there was nothing before.
Any way, it is just me thinking aloud...as usual.