He said all that matters is for people to eat and not this thing of land reform.
Deputy leader of the Mpumalanga Agriculture group, Morrees du Toit, says South African land reform will badly affect food security, leading to heightened poverty in the country.
He said one of the challenges they faced as farmers was the difficulty by others to understand the “economic realities” involved in agricultural production.
“The right to property is a fundamental part of living,” du Toit said, “and just as a man cannot live without his body, so no right can exist without it being translated into reality. Stop that land expropriation and respect people’s rights to property”.
He was speaking during the official launch of the Mpumalanga Show at the Mbombela stadium on Friday mid-day.
His comments come while Parliament is busy preparing to change Section 25 of the Constitution to have land redistributed to all people equally.
He said as Agriculture Mpumalanga they are totally opposed to the expropriation of land, worse without compensation, as they are concerned about the issue of sustainability in food production.
“Land without cultivation is just soil,” du Toit said, implying that once land is expropriated it will lie idle, badly affecting food security.
“Agriculture is when humans use will power, efforts and imagination, put it together and the elements of nature to produce food so people can eat,” du Toit said.
He said these days it was no longer just about having land and putting in seeds and expect something to grow out from it for future harvest but there were “more complicated technical and scientific expertise” needed in doing it.
“You need to specialise in robotics, automated systems and mechanisation. Producing food is not just digging holes on the ground and plant in them for nearer future harvest. It is now becoming more technical, more complicated.
“There is also the protection and development of the value chain that needs to happen. As we know food comes from the ground, goes through hands to where it must be packed and from there value must be added to it,” du Toit said.
Du Toit, who is a vice president for the Mpumalanga Agriculture group, is making these comments just a week after four national agricultural groups signed and released a joint statement, committing to work with the state in making sure the agricultural sector transforms and contributes to inclusive growth.
The groups are AgriSA, the African Farmers’ Association, the African Farmers’ Union and the Transvaal Agricultural Union.
They said in their statement: “We have noted the parliamentary process on expropriation without compensation and are all participating in the process,” they said in their statement of intent.
“We are going to host an indaba for our sector with the aim of coming up with a national development strategy for an inclusive and sustainable sector.”
(edited by ZK)
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