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WATCH: 'At least 60% of commercial farmland will have to be distributed' - professor tells land summit

24 August, 12:23 PM

"I think that the agricultural industry does not fully appreciate the significance of the scale issue."

These were the sobering words of Professor Ben Cousins, the University of the Western Cape's Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies chairperson.

Speaking to News24 at the Landbouweekblad / AgriSA land summit in Bela-Bela, Limpopo on Thursday, Cousins outlined the risks of paying lip service to agrarian reform in South Africa.

"At least 60% of commercial farmland will have to be distributed, otherwise the destructive forms of populism, as embodied in the EFF, will take hold amongst the unemployed youth of the country," he said.

Cousins added that land redistribution had to involve many beneficiaries on very large amounts of productive land.

"We need to transform what happens in the markets. The problem is the domination of big retailers and their power over farmers," added Mazibuko Jara of Ntinga Ntaba KaNdoda, a rural development organisation in the Eastern Cape.

Jara feels that even public institutions, such as hospitals, prisons and schools, can become valuable markets for produce from small-scale farmers.

Parliament recently embarked on a series of public hearings countrywide to allow South Africans the opportunity to air their views on the amendment of the Constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.

This follows an ANC resolution taken at its 2017 national elective conference that land should be expropriated without compensation.

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