Letter: The land reform lie - Business Day, 5th July 2012.

The Deputy CEO, Frans Cronje says that there are people in South Africa who believe land reform is one key to addressing poverty and unemployment challenges.

There are people in SA who believe land reform is one key to addressing poverty and unemployment challenges. A report to be released by the South African Institute of Race Relations later this year finds that more than 50% of commercial farms in SA have a turnover of less than R300000. Just more than 10% have a turnover of more than R2m. In addition, commercial agriculture contributes just 3% of gross domestic product and 5% of employment.

These figures are important as they give the lie to the argument that land reform can somehow help to address poverty and unemployment. In fact, the opposite is more likely true.

As our report will show, commercial farming is a relatively small and brittle industry. Interfering in commercial agriculture via threatened expropriation could cause severe damage to that sector and worsen poverty and raise unemployment rates.

The government, and the scores of little nongovernmental organisations promoting land-reform policies, must consider the implication of declining food production, and thereby rising food prices, in an environment characteris ed by rapid urbanisation.

 

- Frans Cronje

(To read the letter on the Business Day website please click here.)

 

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