Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

South African farmers are among the world’s best, and here are some of the reasons why.

In the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy, which absorbs about half of the total EU budget, is basically a free hit for their farmers.

Food security is the key driver and it is a political and economic priority.

In the US, the subsidy levels enjoyed by their own farmers are about 20%. Consider this in the context of a society that bills itself as the global bastion of free enterprise, including best practice competitive behaviour.

Strangely, in SA farmers enjoy almost zero support from our government, whose sole mission appears to be to deny us access to our land and the opportunity to produce food for our nation.

Despite these extreme challenges we continue to generate agricultural products that compete with those from some of the most subsidised economies in the world.

In effect, these agricultural subsidies are a scam of global proportions and are particularly punishing for developing economies such as ours. Our own government’s response is deliberately pathetic.

The scorched-earth policy favoured by our politicians will lead to poverty for us all, not to mention the poorest of the poor, who rely on commercially produced white maize meal as their staple food.

As the American bumper sticker said: "When you gripe about the farmer, don’t talk with your mouth full."

AR Viljoen