Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If this plays out God help us all food production will go down the crapper

Business Day reports today that farmers are furious over ANC government plans to nationalize productive farmland. Plans being hatched at the hilariously misnamed Department of Rural Development and Land Reform make chilling reading for wine farmers, actually any farmers especially foreign ones. Three items seem to be on the political agenda:

1. Declaring “all productive land” a “national asset” leased to farmers – in effect, nationalizing farms;
2. Retaining current freehold tenure but imposing a ceiling on the number or size of farms owned by individuals – bad news indeed for Saag Jonker who owns 70 000ha of land in the Karoo on which he runs ostriches with one small corner sold to son MornĂ© as a home for The Goose Wines;
3. Property rights of foreign owners could face “further restrictions.”

The reason the department wants to change the rules is to “speed up land reforms” although farmers’ union AgriSA calls the proposals “a smokescreen to hide the department’s bungled implementation of land reforms.”