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Eastern Cape
Mar 6 2013 1:04AM
 
Funds set aside for land reform
BENEFITS: Farmers to be bailed out. Picture: Rudolph Nkgadima
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SITHANDIWE VELAPHI

The department of Rural Development and Land Reform has set aside a whopping R3.2bn for land reform, the department’s deputy Director General Vusi Mahlangu told farmers at a gathering in Sterkstroom near Queenstown last week.

“This budget allocation is only for land redistribution and recapitalisation programmes, Mahlangu told over 800 farmers that attended National Emergent Red Meat Producers Organisation’s (Nerpo) fourth annual national agricultural expo.

“This amount constitutes 25% of the department’s total budget for 2013-14 financial year. So far, the department has spent R1.8bn on the recapitalisation programme and benefited about 696 properties or farms which account for 5000 beneficiaries.

The department is also considering bailing out smallholder farmers who took out loans from commercial farmers but looking at workable modalities to do this,” he said.

Mike Mlengana, president of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa), has commended the department for its “renewed commitment to fast-track land reform” in South Africa.

“We steadfastly commend Minister Gugile Nkwinti and his department for his efforts. It must however be stated categorically that more needs to be done on speeding up implementation of the department’s programmes and policies.

“The scraping of the willing-buyer willing seller principle was a much-needed intervention that we believe, will ensure that land tenure is equitably redressed for food security and sustainability of our sector.

“As smallholder farmers we are confident that the Minister will soon finalise other elements of the proposed Green Paper on Land Reform,” Mlengana said.

provinces@thenewage.co.za

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