Jonas: SA needs formidable farming sector

Jonas: SA needs formidable farming sector

2014-08-18 15:17

Johannesburg - Growth in the agricultural sector must become more formidable and contribute to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said on Monday.

"We must continue to transform the agriculture sector and broaden ownership and deepen skills," he said at the release of the Land Bank's annual financial report in Johannesburg.

"We must drive growth in agriculture, increase black farming, and ensure the commercial sector grows. We must drive large-scale commercial agriculture activity in a vigorous way."

He said South Africa had not done well in the sector in previous years, and much needed to be achieved.

"It's something... that should be looked at. We must look at what we can do to increase our global share in agriculture."

He said better support packages needed to be created for farmers. South Africa's output and demand remained stable, but there were factors constraining growth. These included extreme environmental conditions linked to climate change, and water prices, he said.

"Despite this, performance in the agricultural sector has been positive."

Jonas said it was critical for South Africa to take cognisance of what ratings agencies said, and whether they rated financial institutions positively or negatively.

The Land Bank recorded a net profit of R394.3m in the 2013 to 2014 financial year, a 29.4% increase from the previous financial year.

The gross value of agricultural production for 2013 was estimated at R187.6m. This was an increase of 8.5% over the previous year's R172.9m.

In the bank's report, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said agriculture, which was expected to help grow the economy, was one of government's priority areas.

It was expected to create one million jobs by 2030, as stipulated in the National Development Plan, a policy aimed at eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.

Read: Big profit for Land Bank

Nene said the Land Bank played an increasingly important role in agricultural development.

"I am pleased to note that the bank has commenced engagements with the national planning commission to determine how best it can become involved in the proposed land reform initiative, aimed at expediting land transfer to previously disadvantaged individuals," he said.

"It is clear that the Land Bank is indeed in a position to provide much required expertise in providing a proper viability assessment of prospective farmers and farming enterprises that can be supported by government for conversion into commercial farming."

Nene said he had no doubt the bank would continue its upward trajectory and contribute towards GDP.

"Going forward, the bank will support land and agricultural reform... and seek to increase lending to emerging farmers while maintaining sound lending practices."

Last week, some farmers expressed uncertainty about government's proposal that a maximum share of 50% of farmland be allocated to farmworkers.

According to government's recently released policy paper on land reform and restitution, farm labourers would assume ownership of half the land on which they were employed.

This would be "proportional to their contribution to the development of the land, based on the number of years they had worked on the land".

The "historical owner" of the farm would retain the other half.

According to the proposal, tabled by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, government would pay for the 50% to be shared by the labourers.

This money would not be paid to the farm owner, but go into an investment and development fund, to be jointly owned by the parties constituting the new ownership regime.

Commercial farmers told ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe last week they wanted government to introduce a wage subsidy in the agriculture sector, and help building houses and agri-villages for farmworkers.

They wanted government to plan allocation of water before allocating land, particularly for labour-intensive farming.

They wanted government to review water management and provide more storage dams and irrigation schemes to grow the industry.

  • Akhenaten C.T. - 2014-08-18 15:25

    Not necessary to give the farmers a certain colour. Everything was fine until the ANC interfered. That, of course, is not applicable to farming only. When will you ever learn to stay out of what you know nothing of. You want a few farms for yourself and to achieve that you have to talk 'transformation'. You are transforming the country to hell.

      Eugene UnitSixx Muller - 2014-08-18 16:00

      What i don't understand, why can the government not realize, farming is not just something any one can do. Some of these lands have been in families for generations. They know how to cultivate and work the land...lessons learned a long time ago. Let the people that know how to farm...keep on doing it. Owning land does not grow produce...

      Beicime Olfsun - 2014-08-18 16:03

      Zimbabwe is an example of how to develop farming to feed its own people and believe me, it has nothing to do of how land ownership is distributed but rather how farming is managed and financed.

      Edward Gobey - 2014-08-18 16:17

      not with zim type black farmers you will not...........

      Sejouse Freedom - 2014-08-18 16:31

      @Eugene - You see they promised their people a lot before 1994. Till present they have produced very little of those promises.

      Hugo Monterro - 2014-08-18 16:51

      GROWTH & TRANSFORMATION are contradictory terms Jonas. Rather transform your mind-sets and start at "grass-root levels" and then if you shown any "growth" we can have a re-look.....

      Hugo Monterro - 2014-08-18 18:22

      Transformation(def.) - the conversion of fruitful, arable, productive land into dirt.....

      Bernhard Eigenhuis - 2014-12-11 19:23

      You could list the farms of high profile polititions where the SPCA had to go shot annimals ? Two smallholdings from where I live the Dept of Agriculture had to come do the same. They were called racists..

  • Douglas Ross - 2014-08-18 15:27

    The farming sector won't grow if they keep giving farms to people who doesn't know how to farm

  • riaan.vanderwalt.961 - 2014-08-18 15:41

    No use giving the land to uneducated people (white/black) and it's not productively efficient so stop worrying about transformation that will not contribute towards the agricultural portion to GDP at all, rather start worrying about how we allocate our recourses efficiently to maximize production and employment

  • Deeked De Dose - 2014-08-18 15:43

    So, let me get this right... if I have a worker on my land, I must give him half my land, and the government will give him the value of the land that I gave him... Who will work on my land then? If I hire anyone, I lose half my land, and so on and so forth....... Why not take the 1.2m km2 divide it by the 54m, and each person gets 0.02km2 each... then we can all starve together......

  • Phil Grahn - 2014-08-18 16:03

    The news out of SA is not good regarding food producing farms and farmers. This new ANC Government is slowly killing the country with its racists policies, killing productive farms, and killing farmers and their families in cold blood. There is going to be a serious backlash and this Government will crumble along with many innocent people.

      Fanie Brink - 2014-08-18 17:05

      Thanks for your comments!! You are 100% correct!!

      Sterling Ferguson - 2014-08-18 19:12

      @Kiwi, in the US and Brazil there are very few small and medium size farms. Most of the food are produce by agribusinesses and these businesses produced most of the food in those countries. SA should be promoting agribusiness instead of promoting these four and five acre farms. The minister of agriculture should visited these named countries to see how they are producing all of this food.

  • Johann Enslin - 2014-08-18 16:15

    You just don't get it do you? Who in his right mind will invest / risk his own money and labor for the sake of a freeloader who will consume but not produce. Ideology does not produce profit, trift, work and an applied mind does. A collective has none. It soon crumbles to the lowest denominator.

  • Julie Walker - 2014-08-18 16:42

    Gross value of agricultural production is billions, not millions as incorrectly quoted here. But what's a few orders of magnitude between comrades?

  • Celeste Terblanche - 2014-08-18 16:59

    How can half of a farmers' land be taken with no compensation to the farmer? This is simply Zim style landgrabs in another form. A farmworker is not a farmer! Now you will simply stuff up half of agriculture production.

  • Fanie Brink - 2014-08-18 17:03

    Gee whiz!! Am I proud of everyone above who commented on this article in a very factual manner!!! Farmers will NOT give 50% of their land away and they will NOT run!!! The ANC is looking for a serious reaction while they are to stupid to anticipate the outcome!!

      Sterling Ferguson - 2014-08-18 19:16

      Small farming will not feed the country, nor will they feed the farmers. This is why in the US and Brazil nobody wants to farm and the agribusinesses are producing most of the food.

  • Pierre Sottiaux - 2014-08-18 17:18

    Give us the farms, give us the mines, give us your houses, give us all the schools and we will turn this counytry into something GREAT! Yeah.

  • Julian Jacques Bekker - 2014-08-18 17:33

    We had the best farming community in the world until they started murdering,robbing, cheating and chasing them from the land . Realize this fact first, acknowledge this , say sorry,help and protect those good farmers still left that and you are on the right road to getting what you all the the gravy train want

  • cornu.perold - 2014-08-18 17:46

    We had one not too long ago...then came land reform!!!

  • Kevin Moxham - 2014-08-18 18:17

    Why cant this ANC government start to build on the foundations we already have - world class education, health, infrastructure, productive farms and businesses ect ect ect - instead they are hell-bent on destroying everthing. NOTHING CAN DEVELOP THROUGH DIVIDING OR TAKING AWAY WEALTH. IT IS ONLY THROUGH CREATING NEW WEALTH CAN THIS COUNTRY OR CONTINENT PROSPER.

      Fanie Brink - 2014-08-18 18:47

      Yes they destroy economic growth because the don't understand management and development. They are thinking like other African countries and will also try to make 80% plus of the population dependent on the agricultural industry which clearly means that we are also on our way to an underdeveloped country!!!

  • Hennis Le Roux - 2014-08-18 18:28

    Impossible suggestions...

  • Bernhard Eigenhuis - 2014-12-11 19:10

    Aikona.... Makgoba tea plantation taking 330 million in Government support, where is the profit, ir is it more about success at all cost? Aikona. Somebody needs to go back to school as the funds they are drying up....

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