New plan to help farmers for 5 years
Johannesburg - The new rural recapitalisation and development plan was designed to assist all farmers who had been given land for at least five years, land reform and rural development deputy minister, Thulas Nxesi, said on Saturday.
Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day workshop on land redistribution held in Boksburg, Nxesi said the plan would also try to revive farms which had collapsed after being given to land claimants.
"Our new programme of recapitalisation and development is designed to assist all farmers that have been given land.
"This is an effort to provide, for a minimum of five years, post settlement support to new farmers and to revive farms that have collapsed and even farms that are currently doing well," he said.
He said small and emerging farmers would not remain small and emerging, but would be assisted to become commercial farmers.
Nxesi said his department would continue to assist people to get land for farming as well as settlement.
"The more successful farmers we produce the better it is for food security and economic growth of our country.
"This, too, will generate employment for rural people and turn around the socio-economic conditions in the rural areas where poverty is rife."
Regarding safety on farms, Nxesi said the department was in the process of introducing "a new cadre of youth" called Farm Rangers. They would be responsible to ensure compliance with land use regulations and to ensure the safety of infrastructure and livestock on farms.
Nxesi appealed to rural communities to cooperate with the department and each other to ensure that the recapitalisation and development plan will succeed.
He urged rural communities to choose leaders who would serve their interests in the upcoming May local government elections.
"It is incumbent upon you to choose leaders who will serve your interests, the leaders who will be able to address your community needs."