The CEO of the Land Bank, Tshokolo Nchocho, recently spoke to Business Day deputy editor Carol Paton about land reform and expropriation without compensation. CP: Has the government’s decision to stop giving title deeds to land reform recipients and to switch to lease hold had an effect on the lending to black farmers? TN: To be able to farm, you need land. But we also recognise that for certain commodities, the planting and gestation period can take very long. So for example, if you want to plant macadamia nuts, the trees take two years to grow and another three years to yield. So beyond the issue of the fact that the farmer does not have ownership, leasehold (which is usually three or five years) is not practical for the development cycle of that commodity. A farmer needs 30-40 years to put the capital needed into a farming operation. Even for maize, this argument holds true as farmers need to invest in capital equipment and preparing the soil. CP: How long should a lease be? TN: ...

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