The government’s plan to allocate 700,000ha of farmland in its possession is to be cautiously welcomed — but must be understood properly.

State holdings are a logical source of land for redistribution, and should, in principle, provide an opportunity to expand the farming economy without undermining what already exists. Indeed, the plan seems to contain at least a nod to the importance of making these farms commercially viable by prioritising applicants with some farming experience and by requiring compulsory training...

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