Thursday, 11 February 2021

Cape Town: Government’s land redistribution programme continues to gain momentum, with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday announcing that the state has to date distributed five million hectares of land.

Delivering his hybrid 2021 State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa said the five million hectares of land comprised about 5 500 farms to over 300 000 beneficiaries.

“This is in addition to the land restitution process which has benefited over two million land claimants and resulted in the transfer of around 2.7 million hectares,” he said.

The President said government was also pursuing programmes to assist smallholder and emerging farmers with market access to develop skills across the entire agricultural value chain and increase the number of commercial black farmers.

Despite the economic ruin caused by COVID-19, President Ramaphosa said South Africa’s agricultural sector had performed remarkably well.

“In 2020, we became the world’s second-largest exporter of citrus, with strong export growth in wine, maize, nuts, deciduous fruit and sugar cane,” he said.

The favourable weather conditions in 2020 and the beginning of 2021 mean that agriculture is likely to grow in the near term.

The President said this provides an opportunity for further public-private partnerships in agriculture to promote transformation and ensure sustainable growth.

“It is an opportunity to accelerate land redistribution through a variety of instruments such as land restitution, expropriation of land in order to boost agricultural output,” he said.

During the course of the next financial year, the President said government would establish a Land and Agrarian Reform Agency to fast-track land reform.