The Southern Africa Agri Initiative (Saai), a network of family farmers and people with an interest in farming that look after family farmers, on 11 September 2019 presented a farmer’s day at The Hub in Tzaneen. Intense discussions were held with communal farmers, small-scale and settlement farmers, commercial farmers and beneficiaries of land reform regarding their needs, aspirations, frustrations and challenges.
Black family farmers are struggling to farm profitable and sustainable and require serious adjustments to the policy environment to be successful.
“Few black farmers get access to financing because they often don’t own the land on which they farm. The state was last week forced to sell the farm in Limpopo on which David Rakgase has already been farming for 27 years, to Rakgase. Without the broadening of property rights, investments in agriculture will cease to grow, and black farmers made it clear at the farmer’s day that they want title deeds,” says Dr Theo de Jager, Chairperson of the Board that contributed to the facilitation of the day on behalf of Saai.
The poor research to determine the validity of land claims, infighting among the communal property associations (CPA’s) and poor management of state land are setbacks on the road to success.
Farmers that attended the day believe that a special financing mechanism, similar to the old agricultural credit board, will help a great deal in improving the bankability of new entrants.