Zuma on land reform – electioneering or true commitment?
Once again the issue of land reform is being pulled out just before elections with Zuma saying that we need to intensify the land reform process. This is really interesting given that the ANC led government has been in power since 1994 and in all of that time have only managed to acquire 4% of the land from private owners.
What is more interesting for me is, in that time, no effort has been made to bring the potential black farmers “up to speed” in terms of teaching them to become farmers producing on a commercial scale. If there are any lessons to be learned from the Zimbabwe catastrophe, it is that we need folk who can actually farm the land correctly.
What we should see, with some urgency, if the government is really interested in this reform process, is the implementation of farming academies. These need to be state sponsored, to a certain extent, to empower those earmarked to receive the land, to be able to farm the land successfully.
The process of educating and training these farmer’s needs to take priority as a farmer with land and no idea of how to use it, is simply a squatter.
I understand that many people disagree with the notion of land reform, I believe in it fully as it forms part of the restitution process that needs to happen in this country. I am however concerned that without the proper interventions and training, all that we will be left with is useless soil and very little food. As a developing nation we need to do everything in our means not to be net importers of food.
I would hope that this does not remain purely an electioneering ploy, but a resolute commitment by the government to up skill and create a new set of economically independent farmers.