The government will lease 700,000 acres of farmland to black farmers. Land belonging to the South African state. The program is scheduled to start next week, October 15, 2020.
In a country where the land is mainly owned by whitesdespite being a minority, President Cyril Ramaposa’s goal is to redress racial inequalities. In total, this corresponds to 896 farms that will be rented. Agricultural land that is either underutilized or free.
The lease is valid for 30 years with the option to buy the land back after a few years. One condition: landlords undertake to use their land for agricultural purposes.
For the government, it is not only a matter of redistributing the land to the black majority, but first and foremost to ensure that this land is used for agriculture. Since the end of apartheid, land reform has been very slow, with only 10% of the redistributed land devoted to food production.
Today, agriculture is a priority: last year 40% of the rural population lack of food and 60% in urban areas. In addition, the two million South Africans who have lost their jobs since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic.
With this program, therefore, the government hopes to tackle several issues at the same time: inequalities, food adequacy and unemployment. The initiative is welcomed by economists, who stress, however, that agriculture requires significant investment and that the poorest risk not having the financial means to embark on such projects.