‘Lack of title deeds and financial support impedes land reform’
A lack of title deeds to land and support from commercial banks are leaving many black farmers with impossible barriers to success in the land reform process. This was the message from speakers at the Landbouweekblad/ Komga Farmers’ Association Land Summit held near Haga Haga in the Eastern Cape recently.
According to a commercial farmer near Makana, Justin Stirk, who as a member of the Frontier Bonsmara Group had been involved in training emerging beef farmers in the Eastern Cape, a lack of title deeds had been devastating for many black farmers.
“[It] does not allow them to further themselves [or] improve their farms and properties, because no funding is available.’’
Also speaking at the event, Siseko Maqoma, a citrus farmer and director of the 70% black-owned Eden Agri Services Packhouse near Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape, said a lack of title deeds had been catastrophic for many black citrus growers in the region.
“We have farmers here who have been farming on land for 20 to
30 years for which they still don’t have land tenure. That is completely unacceptable. As a result of this, there is obviously no production finance and banks won’t come near us,’’ he said.
Jeff Every, CEO of Amadlelo Agri, who had driven the development of black-managed dairies across the Eastern Cape, said commercial banks were simply not doing enough in the land reform space. “Not once here today did anyone come up and say, this was done, thank you so and so bank. A lot of things have been done in the transformation space without the banks.’’
Every appealed to commercial banks to find ways to offer finance based on a business’s cash flow as many black farmers did not have title deeds. “You [commercial banks] need to be able to lend on cash flow. As long as government studiously doesn’t want to give black people title [deeds], how are we going to break this wall that is in front of us?” he said. – Mike Burgess