Landownership important for smallholders to afford minimum wage
By Peter Mashala

Smallholder farmers could afford to pay the new minimum wage if they were competitive and successful.

But for this to happen, farmers needed title to their land, according to Mike Mlengana, president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa). Mlengana said this was one of the proposals it had made to deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe and Gugile Nkwinti, rural development and land reform minister, after the recent stakeholder meeting between farmers and farm workers in Paarl in the Western Cape.

Mlengana said Afasa welcomed the farm workers’ minimum wage hike. “We can’t just reject whatever government proposes without giving it a chance.” But he said for smallholder farmers to pay the minimum wage in their current situation would be impossible and that government should come up with possible solutions. Mlengana said Afasa had proposed tax incentives, subsidies and granting farmers title to the land they occupy.

Mlengana said owning land would make it possible for farmers to make meaningful investments on their farms which would increase and improve production. According to Mtobeli Mxotwa, spokesperson for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the minister would consider suggestions and proposals made by all stakeholders. However, Mxotwa said the decision to give title to farmers with government having the first right of refusal cannot be made by the minister alone.

Mlengana said that getting title to land should come with conditions and suggested that farmers be given an option to buy if they had been productive on that farm for at least five years. “The farmer should have a good track record and should employ a certain number of people,” said Mlengana. “The state should have a first right of refusal should the farmer want to sell.” 

We want to know more about you

Welcome to the farmer's weekly online community! Please tell us more about yourself so we can ensure we’re creating content that meets your needs. Click here to take the quick, anonymous Digital Industry Survey.

Comment
Be the first to comment on this article
You need to be logged in to comment on articles. If you don't have an account yet, click here to register.

Caxton Magazines encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of users published on farmersweekly.co.za are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Caxton Magazines.
FW CALENDAR
Previous MonthAugust 2016Next Month
SMTWTFS
123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031
This week's poll
Do you think there are equal opportunities for women & men in the South African agri sector?
No, a lot still needs to change
Yes, much progress has been made to empower women in agriculture
The playing field is slowly levelling out
Last week's poll
Have you received any aid or assistance for drought relief?
Yes, it has been a saving grace. (1.34%)
I received some assistance, but not enough. (44.78%)
No, I don’t know how or where to apply. (51.34%)
I have not been affected by the drought. (2.54%)
I received some assistance, but not enough. (44.78 %) Yes, it has been a saving grace. (1.34 %) I have not been affected by the drought. (2.54 %) No, I don’t know how or where to apply. (51.34 %) I received some assistance, but not enough. (44.78 %) Yes, it has been a saving grace. (1.34 %) I have not been affected by the drought. (2.54 %) No, I don’t know how or where to apply. (51.34 %)
© 2016 Farmer's Weekly Magazine
All Rights Reserved
Terms and conditions