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Meaningful Dialogue on Land Reform Highlighted

July 16, 2019

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

16 July 2019

Addressing the land question will require meaningful dialogue with land owners including farmers, companies and trusts.

The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, emphasized this during the agriculture, land reform and rural development department’s 2019 budget vote speech in parliament.

The minister described the food value chain as highly concentrated amongst a few players.

“We need to work together to open up the sector, create opportunities for the historically disadvantaged groups, and make a concerted effort in growing the sector on an inclusive basis,” she said.

The minister confirmed that her department was developing a deliberate strategy to boost participation by youth and women in agriculture.

The revitalisation of land handed over as part of land restitution was also on the department’s radar.

“In addition, we have a responsibility to revitalise land that was given through restitution of land rights, as well as support famers settled in agricultural state land and those in our communal areas who have acquitted themselves as farmers even where land scarcity remains a challenge.”

The minister also announced that better policy instruments will be developed to support the commercialization of black farmers.

A Farmer Register was also being drawn up in conjunction with Statistics South Africa “that will tell us how many producers do we have, the scale and nature of operations”.

The data generated will facilitate targeted support by government.

The minister also highlighted priority matters that will be tackled together with the trade and economic development minister.

These include increasing products in markets such as China, developing an Agri-Business Master Plan, relooking at the poultry industry and preparing for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade area.

In order to develop markets, the department will work with the National Marketing Council so that it gives timeous advice on agricultural market trends to assist with policy development.

Land acquisition processes were also under review to ensure that the systems are not easily susceptible to corruption.

Meanwhile, the South African Plant Variety Journal was published in Government Gazette 42576.

According to the notice, publication of the information contained in the Journal is intended to satisfy the requirements of the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties and to facilitate the activities of other interested parties.

Detail is provided on agricultural, ornamental and fruit crops.