Expropriation of private property without compensation might be a foreign concept for Zambian farmers. Virtually all the land in Zambia belongs to the traditional leaders or the state, which are categorised as customary or leasehold land respectively. Most of the small-scale farmers are settled on customary land, governed by the local chief, and commercial farmers are mostly leasing land from the state.
Zambian banks would rather lend money on the harvest potential than the security land has to offer. In South Africa, the land cultivated by commercial farmers are owned by the farmers themselves. This means they can use their land as collateral to borrow money from the banks which allow them much more financial manoeuvrability.
When a person owns something, he also tends to look after it more diligently. This is the reality in South Africa. But the reality has changed, or might change in the near future. The new president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently made a public announcement that parliament will discuss whether private property will be expropriated without offering compensation to the owner. If this motion is accepted, it will have dire consequences for South Africa, which is also the economic power hub of Southern Africa. Banks will not be able to lend out money and investors will withdraw from South Africa en masse, since they also need security in the form of property to continue their activities.
If this expropriation law is promulgated, farmers will have to leave South Africa and since Zambia is much more accommodating towards productive commercial farmers, we might see an influx of more commercial food producers in the country.
The Agritech show is around the corner and this month we insert a pull-out map of the terrain. We have also printed 1 000 extra copies to be handed out during the show. You are cordially invited to visit the ProAgri Zambia stand at the Small Enterprises area.
Du Preez de Villiers – email@example.com
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