SA, Congo close to huge land deal

2010-11-11 22:45

Pretoria - South Africa could by the end of this month reach agreement on a land deal with the Republic of Congo, with some farmers expected to visit Congo early next year to identify farm land, a farmers' group said on Thursday.

South Africa has one of the most developed agricultural sectors on the continent and its farmers are looking to expand into other countries.

The deal - part of Congo's plan to improve food security by allowing South African farmers to lease land for up to 105 years to grow maize, soya beans as well as for poultry and dairy - will be one of the biggest land agreements on the continent.

"We have just closed the final matters on individual contracts between farmers and the Republic of Congo's department of agriculture two weeks ago," Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager told a news briefing on Thursday.

De Jager also said South Africa will explore more farming opportunities in Mozambique's Gaza province. Some 800 commercial South African farmers were already farming in Mozambique.

Not a true reflection

South African farmers have so far received land offers from 22 countries across Africa.

But lack of bilateral agreements between South Africa and some countries had discouraged farmers from investing.

Investment at home has also slowed owing to the uncertainty over the land reform programme, meant to hand over 30% of farm land to black majority by 2014.

The government said last year it had managed to transfer 6% of land to blacks and said it will introduce new ways to speed up the process.

But de Jager said government's figure was not a true reflection of what was on the ground as more land has changed hands through private deals.

"A lot of land also belongs to trusts and firms and we have to look at their composition, who has shareholding in them," he said.

De Jager said South Africa needs an updated database on land ownership, which should also show ownership by race.

  • francois.roux1 - 2010-11-11 23:48

    So since our farmers are being killed at an alarming rate, soon all our maize, beef and other commodities, that we are perfectly capable of producing ourselves, will come from the Congo. Great...pffffft

      Lungisani - 2010-11-12 02:02

      I do not think killing is an ill which can be reduced to be only impacting farmers. It is huge problem in the world and also in our country. The question is what are we doing to ensure security of all people? I'll say none at the moment. Police will never do it alone. The president called for forming of community groups, that will fight these ills, to be created and what we happened? Nothing! Are we only good at printing bad things about country in the media? I think not, we are capable people and can defeat crime. For once, let do what's right and form those groups that will work with police. It works! Farmers need to understand they are part of the society and need to start getting involved in the societies surrounding their farms.

      riaan.knoetze - 2010-11-12 02:25

      @Lungisani There was such a group, called the kommando's that were instituted for exactly that reason - rural security. Sadly, the ruling government saw it fit to disband this highly effective system, opting for sector based policing that is at best ineffective, and at worst, as corrupt as they come. There's solutions a plenty out there, but they won't be implemented as long as they stem from whites.

      toxicpolony - 2010-11-12 02:51

      Lungisani, or alternatively, now that they are gatvol, they can simply leave, & go to any of the 22 other countries seeking their expertise. The sad thing is, our government is probably glad that they are wanting to leave, & those farms will now effectively become little more than subisitence ventures within 10 years of the handover. Time will tell if I am wrong, hopefully I am wrong.

      AJ - 2010-11-12 05:47

      @Lungisani: First of all this is not a negative article by the media but a positive one. Based on what farmers in SA have to face however, there are other countries who are a) worse off (poorer) than us b) with better soil c) with a safer environment (despite being poorer)and d) who have no problem with tapping into white expertise for the benefit of both the farmer and the population at large. Farming in SA poses too many risks at present. And also I dont think there is anybody MORE acutely aware that they are part of society THAN a farmer because a) they contribute foodstuffs to society and b) often house communities on the farm as well. The SA government cares little about these farmers though, it has sat back and watch thousands of them get massacred simply for doing their jobs. It is quite ironic that the ANC disapproves of white farmers growing food in SA as citizens, but will be more than happy to import that same food at greater cost from those same farmers who are growing it (and paying tax) to/for another government further north. Until the 'ruling' party has outgrown their 'revenge / chip-on-shoulder' policy, the policies that this country actually needs can never be implemented. Certainly this sector of the SA economy has much further to fall before anybody in govt starts trying to fix it. In the meantime those who can will make other arrangements. Who knows, it could be the start of another 'groot trek' to success further north for many.

  • Theuns - 2010-11-12 00:10

    sounds like it?!

      Theuns - 2010-11-12 00:17


  • Bambie - 2010-11-12 00:21

    ja boet..

  • richard.dodd - 2010-11-12 05:30

    Good on our farmers that they are expanding and will make good use of the land. This will be good for Republic of Congo and South Africa. I am just not too sure about growing maize in an equatorial country. The Republic of Congo doesn't exactly have the right temperature to get an optimal yield from maize... It might be a better idea to farm a more tropical plant.

      AJ - 2010-11-12 05:51

      If I were an Agriculture Minister from these other countries, I would certainly be bending over backwards to secure these farmers' services. All that separates a lot of these countries from being importers to rather being exporters of food (and in the process largely resolving food security) is having the correct expertise on the farms. Many of these countries have so much idle land that is perfect for various crops. The current political climate in SA could be playing perfectly in to the hands of other African countries who want to take a step forward.

      Boerseun - 2010-11-12 08:16

      I am sure the Boere will see that and make the rigth plan.

      Hux - 2010-11-12 13:57

      Dear Richard, These farmers are not expanding. They are leaving. going away and soon will be selling their product to SA. The Anc support this as it is another way to get rid of the white farmers so aquatters can take over the land. I know.....I am one of these farmers..

      Aubrey - 2012-03-17 10:30

      I am looking for email addresses of farmers in Congo, the Congo Agriculture Co, and if anyone can tell me if any of them would be on Face Book? or any means of contacting them? Aubrey

  • Faansie - 2010-11-12 05:54

    Ja, the ANC goverment has always and will always see the real assets of this country as enemies of the state. You name it, Farmers, Business and even the courts are in their view all counter revolusionary. Then Zuma talk about bringing about Unity. What a load of Nonsence.

  • YasButIDunno - 2010-11-12 07:51

    Bravo AgriSA for giving the farmers a way out. As Faansie says, they are seen as enemies of the state here and are being decimated in the cruellest way. Those of us who will be able to afford the far higher cost of imported food will be o.k., but how will the votas feel when their beloved "ruling" party tells them that a loaf of bread is going up to R50.00? By then it will be too late to beg the farmers to come back.

  • Baby Ewing - 2010-11-12 07:59

    Africa begging for Colonialism? WAKE UP ANC!

  • Robert - 2010-11-12 08:00

    Soon we will all be starving black and white , good for you Mr goverment case the ememy of the state who farms out in the fields far from your rule in the big cities away , the average south african will get poorer and poorer as life will get more and more costly due to bad goverment

  • Boerseun - 2010-11-12 08:15

    Apparently some blacks in Africa do see the real value of the white Boer farmers. Good for them and let those who do not get what they deserve.

  • Janneman - 2010-11-12 08:42

    The government needs to seriously think about this before they continue...if they give farmers the choice to leave before things get nasty here, they will...and things will get even nastier...

  • kalielseptember - 2010-11-12 12:22

    As soon as one other Southern African country begins to raise its economic head and welcomes outside skills in a non-racist and safe environment, skilled white (and brown)South Africans will flock there and leave South Africa to its corrupt, greedy and racist politicians and their xenophobic thankless supporters. We are not and do not want to be part of what South Africa is becoming - we would far rather go somewhere where we are appreciated and mutually respected as people and for our knowledge and our skills. As a highly skilled professional I know I would. We are all African and resound with this continent and want to see it succeed. Mark my words, Zim, Zambia, even Angola - all have the potential to become successful organized well governed economic powerhouses, Namibia and Botswana are well on their way. Let South Africa go to fat greedy Juju and his ilk. They can take our land, our houses and our companies - but they can never rob us of our greatest power - the knowledge in our heads and our willingness to work hard. This is what makes us succeed wherever we go.

  • Roy - 2010-11-12 15:57

    AGRI SA and all conspiring farmers are letting the government off lightly with their race-based land reforms. Question: If there are so many new farmers arriving, why can't they rather be sent to these other African countries who have little or nothing, than uproot a viable commercial farmer from a functioning enterprise? They can be brought back in 10 years after they have proven their worth to take over the local producing farms. Question: Why does the South African Government release state land for the development of new up and coming farmers? This way all the puppies will be in one spot, and costs of mentoring will be kept to a minimum, also thereby NOT affecting local producing farms. Question: Why don't the farmers accept the offer from Georgia, EU? They get more than whatever the African continent offers, insofaras not having to give the farms back - EVER!!! And with what has happened to Zimbabwe and now us in South Africa, can farmers ever trust Africa again? Question: Is the farmer only interested in ground value, or farmer function? Either way Georgia still looks good. Crime stats: "Under the ANC government, 174,000 people have already been murdered, of whom 50,000 were white South Africans, including more than 3,600 Afrikaner farmers." - Avigdor Eskin Continued.......

  • Roy - 2010-11-12 16:01

    ...continued from above.... Its not the point of Black vs White. The issue is this: With RDP, LRP etc., farmers are weary of what might happen, and are thus not giving a true 100%. I am not talking production here, but the push towards ongoing farming too. If 10 farmers are killed, the gross output of those farms (which have greatly diminished due to crime, RDP, LRP - whatever) will lead to a lack in local foodstuffs, and the fear of instituting new crops. The government really needs to sit down with this problem. If the farmers leave, I go with - plain and simple.

  • pages:
  • 1