SA farmers looking north

Johannesburg - More than 50 farmers a month are inquiring about Agri SA's involvement with agricultural projects elsewhere in Africa, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

During the last two weeks, countless farmers from the Western Cape had also made inquiries, Dirk Hanekom, executive head of AgriSAMoz, told the newspaper.

According to Hanekom, around 950 South African farmers already had farming interests in Mozambique.

"Around 60% of them are actively involved... in a wide range of farms, the biggest of which I'd say are sugar, banana and cattle farms," Hanekom said.

South African farmers had also moved to Botswana, Zambia and the Congo, while 28 other African countries had asked Agri SA to become involved with ensuring food security for their economies.

Agri SA vice president Theo de Jager said there were several reasons for South African farmers wanting to move north.

"Land claims result in uncertainty. There's not a single banana farm without a land claim, and running costs, in particular electricity, and labour costs are extremely high.

"In Mozambique, electricity costs a fraction of what it costs here," De Jager said.

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