March 24, 2015

24/03/2015: South Africa grain farmers want land-ownership cap plan cut

South Africa’s proposal to cap the amount of land deeds an individual may hold will affect food production and it should consider alternative ways to remedy racial inequality in ownership, the biggest grains lobby said, according to Bloomberg.

President Jacob Zuma in February introduced the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill as a way to redress economic disparities between whites and blacks that were created under apartheid rule. It proposes to limit the area of land anyone can hold to 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres), or two title deeds. Excess land will be bought and redistributed and the limit will be applied retrospectively.
Jannie de Villiers,
CEO, Grain SA
Farmers in South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer, are concerned about the proposed backward-looking limit on title deeds, because some create their areas under cultivation by collating as many as 10 smaller deeds, Grain SA Chief Executive Officer Jannie de Villiers said in a March 18 interview in Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. Very few grain farmers would exceed holdings of 12,000 hectares, he said.

“If they are going to have a cutoff on something like that, it’s going to be unmanageable in terms of producing food for the country,” he said. 

Having a monetary threshold, where farmers with turnover exceeding a certain amount can only expand through collaboration with newcomers, “is a lot more practical -- you’re going to maintain production. A joint venture has got a better chance than a new guy starting fresh with no experience.”

Read more HERE.

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