North West farmers hope for land reform measures ahead of Mid-Term Budget

Farmers in the North West are awaiting the Medium-Term Budget with keen interest, hoping for further announcements on land reform. Farmers under the Moses Kotane Land Rights Forum say they want stricter measures in place to hinder corruption and partiality in the allocation of state land to farmers.

Seventy-six-year-old Caleb Sephoti, who has been leasing the Schoonlaagte farm since 1997, says he faces many infrastructure challenges.

“There’s no road. During rainy seasons it’s muddy, you cannot enter the farm. So this is one of the challenges. This land has never been productive to me because of lack of infrastructure, there is no water. The leasor is not helping us in that effect. We need help from the government.”

The Forum has also called for more assistance in accessing leases and infrastructure development.

Meanwhile, commercial and small-scale farmers in Limpopo say the mid-term budget should create competitive markets for agriculture. Emerging farmers also expect more details on issues like access to land and the provision of relief funds.

Emerging farmer Stanley Masutha says relief for majority of farmers under the umbrella body of African Farmers Association of South Africa came as late as September.

Masutha says farmers were issued cash vouchers of R50 000 each which were not enough. Commercial farmers in the province say they prefer government to maintain the low levels of interest and exchange rates.

Avocado commercial farmer Andre Ernst says they were able to export produce despite challenges introduced by the lockdown.