Black African farmers have decried the slow pace of land redistribution in the country. They raised this concern at the three-day African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) conference that was held in Bloemfontein in the Free State until Tuesday.
The conference held under the themeFarmers Growing South Africa: Creating Jobs and Trade Opportunities, was attended by emerging black farmers and agri-preneurs from all over the country. Afasa is an organization representing the interests of developing farmers.
Afasa’s National Chairperson, Neo Masithela, said the conference reached a number of resolutions that will ensure the development of black farmers, including amongst others:
• African farmers and investment companies working with black farmers to work hard to ensure transformation of the agricultural sector in the country.
• Push the government to speed up land reform.
• Land to be given to African farmers with support.
• Government to stop distributing farms without water.
Afasa also launched the Agri-business Transformation Barometer and Index to help monitor transformation progress in the agriculture sector. The farmers’ organization urged all stakeholders to use this index.
“Everyone in South Africa who wants to verify transformation in the sector must use this barometer. We are the ones who are able to tell if it is working or not. For example, if government says we’ve given 30% of business development for black people, we’ll be able to ask for their baseline. Even when private sector says we’ve helped black people in the farming community, we’ll be able to ask them the same question. There’s no baseline in South Africa. We will give this to government and private sector to measure transformation,” explained Masithela.
Afasa says they will also establish a development agency that will develop and run programs that are developmental in nature for black farmers in the country and the continent at large.
At the same time, the conference also welcomed billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe’s announcement that he plans to establish a multi-billion rand fund to assist players in agriculture, agribusiness and related industries.
The fund will give these players in agriculture preferential access to loans.