Nothobile Simanga of Qunu village near Mthatha carries a bundle of wood on her head to make fire. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH
Nothobile Simanga of Qunu village near Mthatha carries a bundle of wood on her head to make fire. Picture: LULAMILE FENI/DAILY DISPATCH

Inequality in rural SA will increase‚ not decrease‚ without a land reform policy that supports growth and food security.

This is according to a report by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP)‚ which was released on Friday. The report calls for an urgent land audit to underpin future land reform decisions.

The BFAP report‚ published annually in conjunction with the Western Cape department of agriculture‚ focused specifically on land reform, in 2018‚ in the light of recent announcements regarding possible land expropriation without compensation.

The report emphasises the need for policy certainty based on sound economic and investment principles.

"The researchers suggest that without a focused land reform policy framework that supports growth and food security and is well executed and supported by strong institutions‚ the inequalities created in the past will only increase‚" said the department in a statement.

"It also states that investor confidence is key to the continued growth of the agricultural sector‚ which is already under pressure as a result of macro-economics and weather-and disease-related problems."

Economic opportunities MEC Alan Winde said: "Farmers prove every day how resilient they are — we’ve seen it through the drought. But there absolutely must be policy certainty around the issue of land reform.

"I am pleased that the BFAP report has highlighted the need for an informed and measured approach to land reform‚ which takes into account all the intricacies of the South African agricultural landscape.

"The Western Cape government has long insisted that the only way to successfully address land reform is through public-private partnerships‚ which is why we have a 62% land reform success rate‚ using the commodity approach‚" Winde said.