Senzeni Zokwana: Farmers’ brotherhood will prevent Zim chaos

2014-08-14 07:00

Farmers must become a “brotherhood” by protecting and grooming each other to attain quantified profits and contribute to gross domestic product.

“You need to create an army of farmers who protect each other,” said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana during a dialogue on land reform and food security in Johannesburg yesterday.

“We want to see farmers willing to mentor upcoming farmers to share a sense of brotherhood.”

This would help with farm safety and maximise production.

Zokwana said changes in the industry would be good and rewarding if there was willingness.

“If we sit like Zimbabwe and do nothing we will wake up one day to chaos,” he said.

“Don’t be bang [scared], we won’t take your farms, kill your animals, we will work with you.”

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said farmers needed funding and support programmes to be successful.

“If we are to succeed, farmers must have access to funding and markets. If they don’t have that, you won’t succeed,” he said.

“You can give land to as many farmers as you want but if you don’t have support programmes it will fail.”

He urged commercial farmers to help groom emerging farmers and help them regain the skills needed for farming, which they had lost during apartheid.

“We have a responsibility to make people with no homes realise there is a future in South Africa,” he said.

“Black South Africans were dispossessed of land. The dispossession resulted in them [being driven] out of their land but it also deskilled them.”

These dispossessed people lost their skills because they had not farmed for a long time, and had lost their relationship with the land.

“Commercial farmers must help [emerging farmers] reproduce the skill,” said Mantashe.

He said farms would not be taken from owners without compensation.

“If your land is sold it will be for compensation ... Your farms will not be grabbed without compensation.”

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