Our government hates farmers. It matters not if you are a black or white farmer, not a single policy from government is in place to help farmers which means that food prices will continue to go up and at some stage this will cause a lot of unrest in the country. Neither the ANC nor the DA nor the EFF are aware of this and their utterances on the matter show that none of them have a plan to reverse the situation.
Before we get into the various man made headwinds that farmers face, lets focus for a moment on the countrywide drought. We are in a very serious drought. Less than half the normal maize crop has been planted. This has already caused food prices to go up by 9% as we have, in our stupidity, made our diet maize dependent. In a previous column I have elaborated on the ubiquity of maize in our diet. Very soon the effect of having no grazing will be felt in meat prices going up substantially. It takes years for things to normalize after a drought as serious as this one.
Of all the headwinds farmers face, only the treatment from national chain retailers, is more serious than the debacle around land claims.
The land claims policy has been a total failure. Not a single farm that is now managed by the claimants is successful. It bears repeating. Not a single farm that was subject to land claim is successful. Not only does this land not produce food for the country it has all become economically sterile. South Africa’s biggest pecan nut farm no longer produces a single pecan nut.
This is of course not important to our politicians. All that matters is that the white farmer loses land. Robert Mugabe is a hero to the majority of South Africans for the simple reason that he got rid of white people, in particular farmers. The fact that this action of his has totally destroyed his country is entirely irrelevant. What matters is that the white man does not own land anymore. Zimbabwe has gone from being the bread basket of Africa to having to rely on food aid to feed it’s people. Not only is our government determined to copy Mugabe, the EFF is vocal in it’s support of Mugabe whereas the DA is petrified of being called racist for criticizing Mugabe.
The hot air around land is exactly that. The government is the biggest landowner and considering it is a black government, how can this be problematic? In addition the tribal chiefs, who are also black, are the second biggest landowners. For example, they own 40% of the land in KZN which could be used to grow food for the people but instead they ruin it through overgrazing. Finally only 20% of farms are free of debt so the banks would be delighted if the government kept buying farms.
However the government has no intention of doing this as they are pushing through the Expropriation Bill which will give them the power to take land (and your business, shares, mining rights and patents) without paying you compensation.
Farm murders. 4,000 farmers and their wives have been murdered on their farms since the new government took over in 1994. There is no outcry as the subliminal message is that they deserved it. Imagine 4,000 plumbers were murdered since 1994. No one would be mute on this. Remember once the farmer is murdered his land becomes economically sterile as his farm workers become unemployed and there is no one to reinvest in the farm or manage it. My first farming mentor was kicked off his farms in Zimbabwe. He has managed to start afresh but the 350 families that he employed have not been able to.
10 May 2016