Don't panic about land grabs‚ minister tells farmers
Farmers should not panic about land expropriation without compensation‚ agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana said on Thursday.
“The call is on farmers not to panic but to make sure they participate in the process‚” Zokwana said during a media conference in Cape Town about the allocation of fishing rights.
He said the expropriation process would not be allowed to disrupt food production and security‚ in line with comments made previously by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The aim is to bring justice to people deprived of their own land‚” said Zokwana‚ adding that he concurred that “food security is sustained at all costs”. The minister cautioned against people using the government’s land reform programme “as political fodder” to serve ulterior motives.
He said he knew the land question was emotive and that fears around land expropriation were affecting some farmers’ deliberations about buying seed for the coming planting season. But he reiterated that land reform should never impact on food production.
The government also aimed to assist emerging farmers participate in other areas of the agriculture value chain‚ such as food processing and distribution.
“Agriculture has shown it can absorb many people in employment and boost GDP (gross domestic product)‚” Zokwana said. “We need to work carefully in this area.”