Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Black farmers continue to face challenges in accessing markets, finance and technical support to link them with integrated value chains, the Land Bank says.

Pleas by black farmers for more state support have been drowned out by the land reform debate and talk of expropriation without compensation.

Black farmers are largely not organised and remain excluded from the mainstream agricultural value chain, says Land Bank CEO Tshokolo Nchocho.

Current producer support is uncoordinated and not comprehensive. Further challenges include poor production and market infrastructure.

The Land Bank, a statutory body with a mandate to support the development of the agricultural sector, has said it will pay special attention to the needs of previously disadvantaged players, including black farmers.

The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, has stated that more than 70% of commercial farms in SA are owned by white farmers. There are about 39,000 white commercial farmers and 5,300 black farmers, says the African Farmers Association of SA.

General secretary Aggrey Mahanjana said on Monday that while the Land Bank was doing all it could to support black farmers, they lacked "comprehensive support" including working capital and training. "Without postresettlement support, land reform will fail. It will be meaningless and we will hear of farms becoming white elephants," said Mahanjana.

Funding should be tackled jointly by government and the private sector.

In his 2017 budget review, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government would over the next three years, spend more than R5.5bn on conditional grants to support programmes.

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