Communication issues threat to food security
Stellenbosch - A lack of communication between farmers and government is threatening South Africa's food security, DA land affairs and rural development spokesperson Athol Trollip said on Monday.
Speaking to Sapa on the sidelines of AgriSa's annual conference in Stellenbosch he described the relations between the two as "antagonistic".
There was also a lack of understanding.
This had been clear at the conference's morning session, where delegates had repeatedly raised this with Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.
"One after the other, farmers stood up and said there's no proper meaningful interaction and connection between government and us."
Trollip said this was an "indictment of government".
"We need a new relationship of mutual understanding and mutual benefit."
Asked if he thought such lack of communication was a threat to the country's food security, he replied: "Most definitely."
Trollip said all that farmers really wanted from government was security of tenure.
Government's focus on the principle of willing-buyer-willing-seller, which underpinned land reform, was "an excuse" for the failure of its efforts in this regards.
"They are making an excuse for the fact that they can't efficiently implement the rural reform and meet the targets of government. Now they need to find a scapegoat. This scapegoat was the willing-buyer-willing-seller principle."
Trollip said the price of irrigation and ranch land in South Africa had risen ten and four fold respectively over the past seven years.
Land was becoming more expensive.
"So to simply say we're going to do away with willing-buyer-willing seller is throwing the baby out with the bath water. It exacerbates the fears of the farming community who are now asking what their investment is worth."
The willing-buyer-willing seller was basis for security of tenure, he said,