‘Lack of ti­tle deeds and fi­nan­cial sup­port im­pedes land re­form’

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Weekly News Wrap -

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

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