Revelations of extensive fraud and corruption add to the tragic story of the failure of the land reform programme, on which the government has spent an estimated R85bn since 1994 - without creating a new class of sustainable black farmers or adding in any meaningful way to SA's agricultural output or export potential. But if there has been an upside to the expropriation without compensation controversy, it is that agriculture is now firmly on the agenda as a potential driver of economic growth and job creation - and that commercial farmers and those in the government who are serious about growth are talking to each other about how to transform and expand the sector. Agriculture accounts for less than 2.5% of GDP. But it has significant potential to grow its contribution to employment and exports in ways that integrate new black farmers into the industry. SA has a sophisticated commercial farming industry led by some very large privately owned enterprises that tend to fly below the r...

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