The National Emergent Redmeat Producers Organisation (NERPO) has expressed a great relief following the release of the state land to accelerate land reform programme in South Africa by the Minister of Agriculture Ms Thoko Didiza.
Mr Aggrey Mahanjana, the Group Managing Director of NERPO has however, cautioned the Minister against the type of land that is going to be distributed for commercial agriculture.
“We would want to verify and satisfy ourselves against the quality of land that is going to be distributed. We have noticed that a quite number of this land is not in the state of being farmed or farmable. It is overrun by illegal occupants and in most case with no infrastructure at all. NERPO is worried that the government may spend more money to rehabilitate the land than the actual farming on it.”
“Over and above, the distribution of 700 000ha of underutilised or vacant state land across the country should be conducted in a more open, transparent and fair manner. The pre-and post-screening for the applicants will determine the success of the project. We must also acknowledge the reality that not every South African wants to be a farmer.”
NERPO believes that post settlement support services should be conducted in a more systematic manner in order to avoid failures that have been associated with land reform process.