State won't manage land reform: Agri SA
Johannesburg - The government will not be able to manage land that proposed legislation on land reform says it should own, Agri SA said on Thursday.
"The state wishes to be the biggest owner of productive agricultural land ... [but it] does not have the resources, expertise or ability to farm successfully or to control and manage so much land successfully," Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager said in a statement.
The draft Green Paper on land reform was released by Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti on Wednesday.
Nkwinti said the paper aimed to break from the past without significantly disrupting agricultural production and food security, and avoid redistributions that did not generate livelihoods, employment and incomes.
The paper proposes four categories of land ownership; state land which would be made available for leasing, private ownership which would be subject to certain limitations, regulated land ownership by foreigners, and communal land where certain usage rights would apply.
De Jager said South Africa needed to learn from international experience before implementing the paper.
"Experience in other countries shows that state land under lease is not developed and farmed as productively as private land, and that the resource often deteriorates when leased.
"The Green Paper also does not spell out which limitations would be placed on private ownership and how this would be facilitated."
He said Agri SA was opposed to restrictions on farm size, because bigger land owners make the biggest contribution to food security and export earnings.
The organisation supported the broad basic principles of de-racialisation of the rural economy, democratic and equitable land ownership and the maintenance of production discipline.
"These principles must, however, be put into practice with great circumspection. It is important that entrepreneurship, investment and the security of land are not affected in the process."