Banks should help emerging Black farmers

President Thabo Mbeki on Friday urged financial institutions to help emerging black farmers by giving them access to finance.

Writing in the African National Congress’s online publication, ANC Today, he said land acquisition and its productive use were critical to successfully pushing back the frontiers of poverty.

Through the restitution, redistribution and land tenure reform programme, more than 1,3-million hectares had been transferred to the formerly dispossessed.

This included the more than 590 000 hectares transferred under the land restitution programme.

There were many ideas, programmes and projects that would, in the context of Vuk’uzenzele and Letsema, help people to use their land to enjoy a better life, he said.

It was important that those who had the technical expertise should find ways of assisting in this process.

“In this regard, we must express our sincere appreciation to the white farmers and farmers’ organisations that have readily extended a helping hand to the new black farmers.

“We also urge the financial institutions to give these people the possibility to carry out profitable farming activities by ensuring that they have access to the much-needed finance,” Mbeki said.

The department of agriculture and land affairs was leading the struggle to use land to fight unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment, and redress past wrongs.

“At the same time, we all have a duty to lend a hand and enter into a people’s contract for a better tomorrow. We should not, and will not waver in our resolve to address the land question.

“Ninety years after the passage of the 1913 Land Act, we are on the way towards meeting the demand contained in the Freedom Charter, that the land shall belong to those who work it,” Mbeki said.  - Sapa

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