Rural Development & Agriculture Get Boost

Rustenburg - The national government has put aside more than R28 million to restructure and fund 13 unproductive land reform farms in the North West province.

On Wednesday, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform announced plans to launch a strategy called Recapitalisation and Development Programme, which will be launched at the Khuphula Farm Booms in Rustenburg on Friday.

"The aim of this event is to unveil a strategy by the department to recapitalise poor and previously disadvantaged and under-producing farms, which were secured for emerging farmers through the Land and Redistribution for Agricultural Development Strategy," said department spokesman Tshepo Diale.

Diale said Minister Gugile Nkwinti came up with the initiative with the intention to increase agricultural production, guarantee food security, job creation and graduate small scale farmers to commercial farmers.

"The department has committed itself to recapitalise more than 1 000 deserted and unproductive farms nationally. The model is designed in such a way that a farm will be funded under close supervision of the department in order to ensure sustainability going forward," he said.

Diale said strategic partners had been selected within the commercial farming community to ensure the success of the programme.

"These strategic partners come with their own resources and guarantee uptake along the value chain or buying of products from the farmers," added Diale.

He said North West Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Boitumelo Tshwene will attend the launch.

In July last year, Rural Development and Land Reform Committee chairperson Helen Matlanyane mentioned that the implementation of the land reform programme had provided the country with useful lessons for future design in the past 16 years, despite its weaknesses.

In August, Nkwinti announced that black farmers had resold nearly 30% of farms bought for them by the government, often selling back to the previous owners.

He said the government had bought about six million hectares to date, of which nearly two million hectares had been resold.

Sydney Masinga
- BuaNews