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Parliamentary budget vote debate: Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Development en Land Reform – President is dreaming if he thinks that expropriation without compensation will not affect food security

President Cyril Ramaphosa is wrong if he thinks that land expropriation without compensation will not affect food security. That is a dream. The reality is that it threatens every South Africans' right to own property and it reduces all white South Africans, particularly farmers, to land thieves.

After the motion concerning expropriation was adopted by Parliament, the agricultural sector shrank with 29,2% during the second quarter of 2018. The ANC and EFF's populism regarding land is destroying South Africa's agriculture and food security.

The sustainability of agriculture in South Africa is being threatened by an unpredictable climate; rising operating costs; a lack of government aid in the form of research; inadequate disaster relief and tariff protection as well as targeted farm attacks associated with excessive violence.

The FF Plus advocates greater government expenditure on agricultural research to ensure that institutions, like the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, can be on the forefront as regards research into scarce resources.

The appointment of new financial directors and chief executive officers for the various agricultural entities is welcome. The relevant persons seem to be competent and willing to work hard. The Departments' best plans and budgets, however, will not come to much if the provinces do not do their part and if the money ends up in the pockets of cadres.

Land claims must be finalised as soon as possible seeing as it causes great uncertainty and, thus, it suppresses development in the agricultural sector and it has a detrimental effect on food security. Land reform programmes have, unfortunately, become a breeding ground for corruption.

Approximately 91% of the beneficiaries of the land reform programmes have never farmed; have never been involved in any agricultural activities; do not want to farm or simply cannot farm. There are, however, enough farmers – both black and white – who actually do want to farm. The government must empower these farmers to grow from being small, emerging farmers to commercial farmers.

Subsistence farmers also need support, but the focus should be on commercial agriculture. That is where the country's food comes from. Similarly, the processing of agricultural products must be supported so as to uplift communities. Up to now, there have only been empty promises.

As long as the ANC government, with its disastrous policy that undermines agriculture and economic growth, is in control even the very best minister and officials will not be able to make a positive change. The ANC lies at the very root of South Africa's agricultural problems.

Contact number: 082 490 6663

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