Monday, July 13, 2009

Black farmers failing

Note the way they use the term "emerging" farmers in the title, peecee bullspeak for blek farmers. Shocker, blacks are failing again at something, tell me something I don't know. As you know every good yarn need an element of good versus evil. No rewards for guessing who's the baddie here. Uh huh, whitey. Whitey hasn't got enough work of his own - now he's expected to do the work of other farmers.

How about just calling it like it is. Blacks have no culture of farming beyond pastoral farming. I
t's like asking Rwandans to play basketball. They can play it but are pretty shit at it. Given time, they could succeed somewhat but like all things, it's a learning curve, trial and error. Ask the countless whites that tried their hand at farming, and failed. Not everyone will succeed.

And think about it, really, what are they expecting from the white farmers? They're asking existing farmers that total just 40 000 (and diminishing - I reckon far less) to help establish 450 000 (think about the number) - eleven times as many black farmers - to set up shop and succeed. It's like you walking over to your opposition and helping them. Wtf? The concept is preposterous but like I said, every story needs a villain and whitey is it - again.

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Emerging farmers drown in debt

The future of South Africa's emerging black farming sector hangs in the balance if agriculture's two-tier structure - consisting of white commercial farmers on the one hand, and struggling black farmers on the other - does not disappear.

Speaking in an interview with Fin24.com on Friday, Agricultural Business Chamber CEO John Purchase said the only way for the 450 000-strong emerging farming sector to survive was if agri-business in the food production chain and agri-related services invested more heavily in public-private partnerships with government.

Purchase was speaking after the Land Bank told parliament it would be forced to repossess hundreds of farms belonging to struggling black farmers due to non-payment. The bank would lose R100m per month if it did not take action, it said.

Purchase said agri-businesses were already well on their way to investing in developing agriculture with a view to improving market access as well as easing emerging farmers' financing needs.

"Now that the Land Bank has been taken over by the finance ministry and is able to exercise more control, it has a vital future role to play in rural development. It is also encouraging that government has now prioritised rural development in its fight against poverty."

He said agri-businesses were involved as registered service providers to develop emerging farmers' skills, but much more of this would be needed.

Over the past 15 years, the number of white commercial farmers dwindled to 40 000 from 60 000 while the number of emerging black farmers - who supply a mere 5% of the market - has remained stagnant at about 450 000.

Cooperatives have vital role

Government's total spend on farming in the same period remained less than 4% of the gross domestic product, including money for extension services, land reform and research.

Purchase said the cost of creating a single job in the agricultural sector was a mere R50 000 compared to R500 000 in the industrial sector.

"With the unemployment rate running at more than 20% - and in some rural areas as high as 30% - it makes good sense for government to increase spending in the sector."

Citing the Magaliesberg Koƶperasie - a cooperative in the North West with a loan book of R80m in agricultural development projects - as an example, Purchase said the role of cooperatives in rural development and farming was vital.

"It's back to basics - there is huge potential for the old-style cooperative business form that capitalises on economies of scale, limits input costs and provides much-needed price hedging mechanisms to protect emerging farmers against price fluctuations."

Cooperatives have members instead of shareholders, and use their contributions to buy farm supplies at reduced prices on members' behalf. Most cooperatives that were key drivers behind South Africa becoming a food exporting country (except more recently, when the sector fell victim to shrinking global markets) have, however, opted to become listed companies over the past 10 years.

Purchase said the most immediate challenges facing black farmers were access to markets, price protection through hedging mechanisms and a lack of scientific knowledge.

- Fin24.com (Hat tip - Anon)

4 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

When I read it I wondered at the numbers. 450,000 black farmers only producing 5%? So 40,000 white farmer are doing 95%?

The numbers are downright shocking. Now take more white farmers away and create more small black farmers.

Where does that leave the country?

Vanilla Ice said...

Can you imagine the "emerging" farmers trying to figure out maize and pork futures?

Doberman said...

450 000 farmers is a "stagnant" amount? Methinks too many.

Anonymous said...

Well how do you pay back an agricultural loan in the first place if you are subsistence farming?