SANEWS.GOV / 19 FEBRUARY 2020 - 13.11 / STAFF REPORTER
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says government has, since July last year, released about 100 parcels of land to be used for restitution and farming purposes.
Didiza said this when she participated on the first day of the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address during a joint sitting of Parliament, in the National Assembly, on Tuesday.
She said this not long after the Presidential Land Advisory Panel’s recommendations implored government to urgently deal with land tenure and restitution to ensure security of tenure for millions of people on traditional land of the country.
“Mr President, in your State of the Nation Address in June 2019, you committed government in the medium term to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart urban settlement and for farming.
“Six months into this sixth administration, the following has been achieved: 14 000 hectares have been identified and released for human settlements, 100 parcels have been released for restitution purposes, 44 000 of these have been transferred to communities … in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape.”
Didiza also said that 1.3 million hectares of agricultural land has been identified and is ready for allocation.
Out of these, 300 000 hectares will be used for the settlement of restitution claims, while 700 000 hectares of these will be allocated to women, youth, people with disabilities and those who have been farming on communal land.”
Developing a new farmer for the future
The Minister said, meanwhile, that agriculture, as an economic sector, is dependent on, among others, land to thrive.
He said that the use of land will require that government does not only give access to land, but support to those who enter into the agricultural economy with training, finance, water, research, mechanization and infrastructure.
“Given the challenges of climate change, we need to ensure that our farming system is consistent with this reality. Thinking about the future, we need to build a new cohort of farmers.
“The current training that we are undertaking through NARYSEC and the agricultural colleges of 1000 young people from the three districts that have been identified as pilots for the district development model working with the Department of COGTA will contribute towards the development of new farmers.
“In addition to these, we have maximized the use of our international exchange programme by sending young people for training in critical agricultural skills.”
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER