Emerging farmers are failing, study shows

2011-07-19 13:05

Emerging farmers are failing because of insufficient government intervention and flawed agricultural policies, a study by the Land Bank has shown.

“A cohesive approach is needed to provide emerging farmers with a stable environment,” Land Bank agricultural researcher Moraka Makhura said at the release of the study in Midrand, northern Joburg, today.

“Farmers in other countries around the world have succeeded because their governments act as the nucleus of their agriculture industries.”

Makhura said the industry had suffered because it had to adjust to changes in the market. The cost of financing farmers had increased and institutions were not willing to take risks with new farmers.

The study looked into results produced by emerging farmers who were supported by the Land Bank in the last decade.

It concludes that many farmers were working with land that was not viable for crop production.

“How can we expect farmers to succeed when they are placed on a unit that is not well irrigated? They won’t be able to learn in conditions like these,” Makhura said.

The study revealed that about 40% of emerging farmers were successful because of prior knowledge of farming and a steady form of income.

Makhura said the study suggested that an economic approach to land reformation would be more suitable for the industry than political and social intervention.

“We are in search of a success story. If emerging farmers are well-supported and understood, the impact that they make can change the face of agriculture in this country.”

The Land Bank is a specialist agricultural bank that provides financial services to commercial farmers, as well as emerging farmers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

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