agribusiness, strictly regulated for environmental sustainability
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Dec 21 02:18:06 GMT 2013
>From: Chris Baulman <landrights4all at gmail.com>
>What if agribusiness, strictly regulated for
>environmental sustainability, was recognised as
>the best way to farm rural acres, while the
>human right of those lacking secure land access
>for housing & food gardening was provided for in
>suburban neighbourhood community commons under
>the same principle of environmental
>On 13 December 2013 10:28, Tony Gosling
><<mailto:tony at cultureshop.org.uk>tony at cultureshop.org.uk> wrote:
>December 5, 2013 1:49 pm
>South Africas black farmers struggle with land reform
>By Andrew England in Committees Drift, Eastern Cape
>Mthimkhulu inspects his herd of cattle at his farm in Senekal
>A black farmer inspects his cattle on land formerly owned by a white farmer
>Elliot Nkompo discusses the trials and
>tribulations of farming in
>Africa after attending to a weak cow struggling to stand after calving.
>As someone with three decades experience as a
>farmworker he is no stranger to the challenges
>farming brings. Yet, four years after making the
>transition from worker to land owner as the
>beneficiary of a land reform programme pushed by
>National Congress, he is struggling to make ends meet.
>The reform under which the state has acquired
>white-owned land for blacks is intended to
>address huge imbalances in land ownership, the
>legacy of colonial and apartheid policies. But
>it is a complex and emotive issue that is set to
>be a hot topic as campaigning picks up ahead of next years elections.
>And with the country approaching the 20-year
>anniversary of the end of white minority rule,
>black and white farmers alike say the programme
>has failed to produce the desired results.
>While the ANC argues that the pace of reform has
>been too slow, white farmers complain about
>uncertainty and political pressure and many new
>black farmers, like Mr Nkompo, lack resources
>and struggle to make a success of their land.
>Acquiring his own farm was the realisation of a
>once impossible dream for Mr Nkompo after a
>lifetime toiling for a white farmer. But his
>sick cows battle to stand is symbolic of his
>own travails as he complains that the support he
>expected from the government to help develop the land has not materialised.
>When we sought the land we knew it was not
>going to be easy, but we have been shocked, he says.
>The government has acknowledged problems with
>the reform, but wants to accelerate the process
>and plans to dispense with its willing buyer,
>willing seller policy under which white-owned
>land can only be procured if the owner agrees to sell.
>Instead, it says it will look to expropriate
>land at fair value prices set by an Office of
>the Valuer-General. The ANC has also said it
>wants to reopen a land claims process, closed 15
>years ago, under which communities or
>individuals can lay claim to land they say was dispossessed.
>Both are politically sensitive issues that have
>taken on additional resonance as this year has
>marked the centenary of the colonial 1913
>Natives Land Act that limited African land
>ownership to just 7 per cent of the country.
>What we seem to get wrong is to focus on land
>transfer and not focus on people. Had they
>focused on people they would make the land
>reform programme suit people and the peculiarities of agriculture
>- Mohammad Karaan, Stellenbosch University
>Rural regions tend to be among the most racially
>unreconstructed areas in post-apartheid
>Africa, with most blacks living in abject
>poverty. The ANC had set the goal of
>redistributing 30 per cent of farm land to black
>farmers by the end of next year but this target will not be met.
>What we seem to get wrong is to focus on land
>transfer and not focus on people, says Mohammad
>Karaan, dean of agriculture at Stellenbosch
>University. Had they focused on people they
>would make the land reform programme suit people
>and the peculiarities of agriculture.
>The issue is further complicated because a land
>audit is still being completed, meaning exactly
>who owns what in terms of race and nationality is not clear.
>President Jacob Zuma has previously said 80 per
>cent of agricultural land is in the hands of
>about 50,000 white farmers and agri-businesses.
>The government estimates that reaching the 30
>per cent target would require transferring 24.5m
>hectares out of the 82m hectares of agricultural land in white hands.
>About 6m hectares have been transferred to
>blacks, including 4,800 farms, since the ANC
>took power in 1994. But experts warn that simply
>transferring land without effective support doesnt work.
>Lali Naidoo, director of the East Cape
>Agricultural Research Project, a
>non-governmental organisation that supports
>black farmers, says dispensing with the willing
>seller policy may make land more available. But
>she adds: Its not going to sort the problem of
>use, support and agricultural production.
>Many of the new black farmers come from poor
>backgrounds and lack the resources to ensure their land is productive.
>The government is using land as a solution to
>the problem, but land in itself is not. It has
>to be worked effectively to be a solution
>- Brent McNamara, beef farmer
>Mr Nkompo, his wife and three other couples took
>over 216 hectares when a white farmer retired,
>with each individual receiving a grant of
>R101,000 from the government. Pooling their
>resources, they paid R570,000 for the land and
>another R157,000 for 13 cattle and a pick-up
>truck. They say they never received the remaining R80,000.
>The result is they have land but no capital to
>invest in the harsh semi-arid landscape dotted
>with yellow-flowered cacti. Instead they hope
>the government will come to their aid with
>irrigation systems and other assistance.
>If we were to get these things I do not see
>what will get in our way of success because we
>know about farming, Mr Nkompo says. Since 2010,
>the department of rural development and land
>reform has adopted polices intended to put more
>emphasis on developing the capacity of farmers.
>But the departments own capacity is questioned,
>and Mr Nkompo has not yet reaped any benefits.
>His small, basic farmhouse has neither
>electricity nor running water. Yet at a
>neighbouring farm, huge irrigation pivots spray
>water over lush pasture at a commercial dairy operation.
>The contrast could not be starker and white
>farmers often characterised as being resistant
>to reform say the smaller black farms are
>simply not viable given the harsh terrain.
>Brent McNamara, a beef farmer with 900 hectares,
>insists commercial farmers are not against
>reform, but argues it should not be forced in a
>manner that creates uncertainty and hits
>agricultural production. He alludes to
>Zimbabwes experience, where the seizure of
>white-owned farms triggered a collapse in agriculture.
>Few expect South Africa to follow that path but
>solving the land question will continue to be a
>colossal task laced with highly charged emotions.
>Theres a big difference between us and
>Zimbabwe, but the problem is the political
>rhetoric can influence investment, Mr McNamara
>says. The government is using land as a
>solution to the problem, but land in itself is
>not. It has to be worked effectively to be a solution.
>MANDELA AND REDISTRIBUTION
>He avoided Zimbabwe's mistake. Can it last?
>By <http://spectator.org/bios/matt-purple>Matt Purple 12.11.13
>When he was elected president of South Africa in
>1994, Nelson Mandelas country was a sizzling
>stovetop of grievances and ideologies, a place
>where the vestiges of Apartheid mixed with newer
>black nationalist and Marxist resentments. The
>pressures Mandela faced were enormous.
>One of them was to follow the example of Robert
>Mugabe, president of nearby Zimbabwe. A gapingly
>disproportionate amount of land in both Zimbabwe
>and South Africa was owned by the white
>minority. Mugabe was in the process of
>implementing a sweeping, coercive land reform
>plan that would redistribute land en masse, and
>without compensation, from whites to black
>farmers. This ultimately hyper-inflated his
>currency and annihilated the Rhodesian economy.
>South Africas land reform program, steered by
>Mandela, was far more moderate and gradual. It
>centered on a willing buyer/willing seller
>policya market reform as naive conservative
>wonks might put it todaythat allowed white
>landowners to sell their land voluntarily. The
>in 1998 that the initiative contrasts sharply
>with Mugabes jackbooted plans, while Mandelas
>successor, Thabo Mbeki, later said willing
>buyer/willing seller was a necessary compromise
>to address the concerns of the minority. The
>goal was to transfer 30 percent of South African
>land from whites to blacks by 2014.
>Today less than 10 percent of the land has been
>redistributed and the program is widely
>recognized as a debacle. Both wheels on the land
>reform conveyor belt failed to spin. On the
>seller end, the governments collection of land
>has been sluggish and tainted by accusations
>that landowners werent sufficiently compensated
>for their property. Additionally, many of those
>who had claims settled for cash settlements rather than land itself.
>But the real kinks came on the buyer end from
>that classic problem thats bedeviled
>redistributionists throughout history: The new
>landowners lack the skills needed to cultivate
>their fields. About 90 percent of the
>governments redistributed farms had failed as
>of 2010. One black farmer, who used to drive a
>tractor for a white farmer named Engelbrecht,
>put it bluntly to
>Los Angeles Times
>I thought I'd be much better off. But I think
>it was better with Mr. Engelbrecht. We lived high with Mr. Engelbrecht.
>Gugile Nkwinti, the land reform minister, summed
>things up this way: The government didnt have
>a strategy to ensure that the land was productive.
>The programs inertia is making many reformers
>throughout the country impatient. A new
>radicalism is bubbling on the South African
>stove, one thats looking to Robert Mugabe and
>his model of punitive land confiscation. Angile
>Lugisa, the former deputy president of the
>African National Congresss Youth League,
>Mugabe earlier this year and announced, We are
>saying in South Africa and the whole of Africa,
>we should emulate Zimbabwe. When Land Reform
>Minister Nkwinti was accused of employing
>Mugabe-esque tactics to ignite anger before an
>responded: Mugabe is reversing what the British
>did to the people of Zimbabwe. It's an honor.
>President Jacob Zuma has since announced that
>the government will ax the willing buyer/willing
>seller system in favor of a predetermined just
>and equitable compensation and a limit on how much land individuals can own.
>Some of this is podium-thumping. There is a wide
>gash of black resentment in Africa thats been
>exploited by savvy politicians, most notably the
>populist Economic Freedom Fighters, whose
>leader, Julius Malema,
>pledged to drive whites off their land. But this
>rhetoric can have very real consequences. Since
>Apartheid was abolished, thousands of South
>African farmers have been murdered, usually
>white victims at the hands of black assailants.
>of these killings spiked 25 percent between 2002
>and 2007, with agriculture workers now twice as
>likely to be murdered as other South African
>citizens. And while the lions share of the
>murders involve robberies rather than overt
>politics, the rhetoric of militants like Malema
>is certainly exacerbating a dark problem.
>South African politics is soaked in
>redistribution, all the way through to its
>founding document. The South African
>constitution is a progressive fruit basket of
>positive rights, and counts
>its admirers Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It
>explicitly requires the government to take
>measures that enable citizens to gain access to
>land on an equitable basis. It protects private
>property too, but land reform measures can
>supersede individual rights so long as the
>limitation [of the right] is reasonable and
>justifiable in an open and democratic society
>based on human dignity, equality, and freedom,
>taking into account all relevant factors. That
>can mean just about anything to an imaginative
>politicianespecially one influenced by resentment and the Mugabe example.
>As we honor Nelson Mandela, lets remember his
>prudence on land reform: resisting Mugabe's
>allure and striving for something that was
>careful and relatively market-based. But lets
>also acknowledge the portents in South Africa
>today: violence, racism, radicalism, with the
>specters of both Apartheid and a failed redistribution scheme looming overhead.
>(my Twitter posts)
>that Works (my home page)
><http://www.facebook.com/landrights4all>landrights4All (my Facebook)
>Content-Type: image/jpeg; name="d6ecb40.jpg";
>Content-ID: <188.8.131.52.1.20131212231724.0213ebc8 at cultureshop.org.uk.0>
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