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Drastic reform in no one's interest: Agri SA

2010-06-09 20:07

Bloemfontein - National farming body Agri SA on Wednesday reiterated previous requests for urgent and in-depth discussions with the government on the elimination of obstacles hampering land reform.

Agri SA president Johannes Möller said it was in no one's interest, especially the poor, to introduce drastic measures that would undermine confidence and have an adverse effect on food security.

"Deficiencies in the implementation of the existing policy should instead be addressed and partnerships should be formed with the private sector to ensure sustainable and accelerated land reform," he said in a statement.

Möller was commenting on various statements by government officials, including President Jacob Zuma, on an amended, more aggressive land policy.

Agri SA said administrative incompetence in implementing land reform was the main reason why the government was now considering radical changes to its policy.

Möller said although Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, his deputy and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said Agri SA had been consulted, no talks had taken place as the government had dealt with the policy review internally.

"Agri SA is concerned that consultation after the publication of a Green Paper on this important and highly emotional matter could leave very little room for changes."

Möller said a Green Paper represented the well-considered opinion of the government.

Statements issued by politicians had made Agri SA concerned about possible State over-regulation, which could undermine market principles.

The farmers' body proposed orderly transformation within a legal framework, with adequate financing and other assistance as prerequisites.