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Laurent Maree
 
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Playing with starvation: The land issue and the politics of food supply

05 March 2018, 13:57

The ANC seems to be determined to proceed with their programme of land redistribution without stepping back and having a good old sanity check of the real situation.

My prediction is that the end result will be an increased dependence of the South African black population on a smaller number of white farmers for survival.

Most importantly the South African population has soared in the last 30 years. There are simply too many people for the available land to let a reasonable number of these own their own little subsistence property. That utopian dream has become untenable.

Secondly, the objective of farmland in particular is the production of food. This means the correct and optimum utilisation is to the benefit not only of the owner and inhabitants of the farm but to society in general.

Thirdly, farming or using a more appropriate term, food production, has become a more scientific and capital intensive endeavor. Making use of such technology hugely increases the yield per property unit as well as decreasing the cost of production.

These factors leads us to few possible scenarios:

Food production in South Africa will be restricted or might even collapse due to the policy causing at the least a spike is food pricing or at worst a shortage of food.

A second scenario is that the remaining farmers will up their game on the land left for food production, increasing capitalisation and technological advantages to supply the food required by South Africa's population. In short the end state will be that even more people will be dependent on even less for their survival. I doubt that the policy makers in the ANC have taken this into consideration.


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