Sunday, February 17, 2013

Africa 6:...  

Doing my South Africa homework, and it appears I'm arriving at a pivotal moment for SA farmers.

Government is to drop the "willing-buyer, willing seller" principle with regard to land reform and restitution, President Jacob Zuma confirmed on Thursday.
"We must shorten the time it takes to finalise a claim. In this regard, government will now pursue the 'just and equitable' principle for compensation, as set out in the Constitution," he announced in his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday
Telling MPs that the land question in South Africa was a "highly emotive matter", Zuma said the willing-buyer, willing seller principle previously applied had forced the state to pay more for land. [More]
This method of land redistribution did not fare well in Zimbabwe, either. 
As of 2012, much of the seized land remains in large plots in the hands of Mugabe's cronies and produces little, but the small plots remaining in the hands of ordinary black farmers are now producing quite well. Their productivity does not match that of the previous large industrial farms that were displaced, but the profits are much more widely distributed and collectively these micro-entrepreneurs are one of the best performing sectors of the Zimbabwe economy.[24]
Before 2000 land-owning farmers had large tracts of land and utilized economies of scale to raise capital, borrow money when necessary, and purchase modern mechanized farm equipment to increase productivity on their land. As the primary beneficiaries of the land reform were members of the Government and their families, despite the fact that most had no experience in running a farm, the drop in total farm output has been tremendous and has even produced starvation and famine, according to aid agencies.[28] Mostly crops for export have suffered severely, e.g. Zimbabwe was the world's 6th largest producers of Tobacco in 2001.[29] It produces nowadays less than 1/3 of the amount produced in 2000,[30] the lowest amount in 50 years.[31] Zimbabwe was once so rich in agricultural produce that it was dubbed the "bread basket" of Southern Africa, while it is now struggling to feed its own population.[32] About 45 percent of the population is now considered malnourished.

Combined with the recent rise in minimum farm wage, this strikes me as utterly unsettling, and one reason many economists are pessimistic about the SA economy in 2013.


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