Commercial farms ensure SA food security

2012-08-08 12:13

Johannesburg - Commercial farmers ensure greater food security in the country by producing more food than emerging or subsistence farmers, a study has found.

The study found commercial farms accounted for 95% of the country's locally-produced food, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday.

The remaining 5% was produced by the country's 220 000 emerging farmers and 1.3 million subsistence farmers.

SAIRR researcher Kerwin Lebone said South Africa's food security was heavily dependent on commercial farming.

"While emerging and subsistence farmers may feed their own families and some others, the above information demonstrates that national food security depends on commercial farming."

The study, which was based on information from Statistics SA, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, and a statement by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, found there were 94.5 million hectares (m ha) of agricultural land in South Africa.

Only 13.1m ha, or 14% of this land, was cultivated to grow crops. The remaining 81.3m ha, or 86% was used for grazing or other activities, such as mining.

A commercial agriculture census, published by Stats SA, showed the country's 47 500 commercial farmers planted all their crops on 4.6m ha.

This meant they used only 36% of cultivated agricultural land, and 5% of the total agricultural land available.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-08 13:03

    Really? They needed a study for this? oh yeh olde farmers do yeh not use yeh olde feudal system? And this is why land grabs, turning productive commercial farms into subsistence ones is a bad idea.......... You take a commercial farm feeding 8000 people, you give it to the landless, and they grow a few maize stalks and fatten a few cows feeding 1200 (if you're lucky)....... That's 6800 going hungry now.....

      Pacific.Barbarian - 2012-08-08 13:52

      Spot on my friend! They actually pay people to come up with these statistics! We all knew this already!

      shelton.thorburn - 2012-08-08 14:18

      The very nature of the term "subsistence farmer" would surely be a clue into the fact that they are not going to contribute the the food security of the country or any other for that matter.

      thandiwe.ngema.71 - 2012-08-08 18:27

      I am glad that this study has been released. We need to preserve our food security and not use agriculture as a political football.. Of course we need meaningful land reform but this should go hand in hand with education and not infringe on property rights and/or food security..

  • johanna.vandokkum - 2012-08-08 13:23

    There are no more than 22,000 commercial farmers registered in South Africa today. Where do you get your faulty statistics from ?

      Pacific.Barbarian - 2012-08-08 13:53

      Thanks for the info. Shows you how we are being lied to all the time!

      Klaus - 2012-08-08 15:08

      About 20 years ago there were 120 000 commercial farmers (Farmers Weekly) What happened to this formerly productive land ?

      fanie.brink.5 - 2012-08-08 15:51

      Your figure is to low! It's about 40 000 farmers!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-08 16:20

      Klaus, part of the reason there are less farmers is that farms have become bigger and bigger. Farmers don't like paying tax - quite understandably, so when they have a good year they often buy more land. Often the smaller guys are the ones who battle financially, so there is always some land on the market. Another reason is the forestry industry, the big tree growing companies have bought out 1000's of farmers. One company now owns 40 farms that used to belong to individuals. Then of course there are the 1000's of farms that have already been redistributed, these no longer function - so those farmers are out of the equation. So maybe the only or biggest loss in productive hectares is due to land reform.

  • toofaan.monsoon - 2012-08-08 13:38

    In other words, leave the commercial farmers alone or the nation starves. Face it, if there's just 47500 of them, how do you re-distribute these farms across millions of people ? You can't without killing the country. Rather concentrate on other land that can be turned productive with a little hard work.

  • scheepers - 2012-08-08 13:48

    Food security has never been a concern for the decision makers in africa since they get fed first.

  • Pacific.Barbarian - 2012-08-08 13:54

    And to all the idiots who gave thumbs down, put the facts in your pipe and smoke it!

  • willem.vanrensburg.35 - 2012-08-08 14:01

    But the government is going out to reduce the 95% percent and give the land to the 5% producers. Wake up the land is a business and not a tradition. A third world tradition should not interfere with a first world economy.

  • gary.stirrup - 2012-08-08 15:04

    on news24 01/03/2012 minister gugile nkwinti (land reform ) apparently stated that the white farmers own 82mil hectares and by 2014 30% 24.5 will be given to black farmers .when you consider there are only94.5 mil hect in the country and only 13.1 is for crops .there is going to be some serious aggricultural problems in the future ,sorry about pessimistic view

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