Less than a third of black grain farmers in a countrywide assistance programme are producing any crops because they have little or no access to bank finance, according to data from producer organisation Grain SA. The vast majority of these farmers - about 3,800 in total - farm on government-owned land, and therefore have no individual land title to acquire loans from credit facilities. Attempts to get the government to provide guarantees for use as collateral have thus far failed, prompting concern about these farms' viability. Grain SA, the country's biggest producer organisation, is appealing to key government stakeholders to rethink land reform policies in the light of findings that suggest that simply expropriating productive farmland to transfer to black farmers could dramatically decrease SA's maize crop to the point where imports would be required - resulting in price increases. A Grain SA delegation presented its findings to parliament recently after continuing meetings with...

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