Free State Agriculture (FSA) has invited Premier Ace Magashule to visit some farming projects around the province which the organisation has designed as possible alternatives to the 50/50 land reform model that has been suggested by government.
The invitation was extended to Magashule when he met with commercial farmers from around the province in Bloemfontein last Thursday. The premier accepted the invitation but a date is yet to be set for the visits.
The 50/50 land reform model is a farm equity schemes in which the state acquires up to 50 percent shares in commercial farms on behalf of the farm workers working on them.
The plan, according to the government, is aimed at paving the way for land reforms to become the basis for new investment in the rural economy.
The proposal seeks to establish a system in which farm workers and dwellers are provided opportunities to purchase and/or gain access to shares in the land in which they have occupied over an extended period of time based on their compliance in fulfilling prescribed upon land-related roles and responsibilities.
The policy also aims to overcome the various limitations of other land reform initiatives and tenure reform laws that have largely neglected to focus on land ownership as a central means of addressing the tenure insecurities and livelihood challenges faced by people who work in commercial farming areas.
But FSA together with Agriculture South Africa have indicated their concerns on the model which they say is not viable in the long term and have come up with some alternatives which are already being implemented on some farms.
FSA president Dan Kriek this week told The Weekly that they believed the 50/50 model would not really benefit agriculture as anticipated hence they came up with the proposals.
“We have several alternatives already being implemented in the province,” said Kriek.
“The proposals have already been forwarded to the minister for consideration. It’s not really for lack of commitment on the part of commercial farmers that we have come up with alternatives. We would like to see the sector thriving and with more players,” he added.
According to FSA, the proposed farmworker support schemes are economically viable and profitable businesses which can generate benefits for the owner and farm workers as they are based on realistic business plans.
All beneficiaries are farmworkers and they have identified farms that are not subject to restitution claims to implement the projects.
The organisation believes this transformation of South Africa’s agricultural sector by providing finance to small-holder farmers and farm workers and advice to established farmers seeking black economic empowerment (BEE) partners could help promote economic growth in the country.