As I pondered the founding principles, I recalled the many constructive conversations I had with FW reps at the many meetings and conferences I attended while I was a DP city councillor in Johannesburg. At all of these, one issue always came to the fore and that was food security and the plight of our commercial and subsistence farmers.
We usually concurred that we hoped a “voice of reason” would emerge from among our “non-white” community that would sway the policy decision-makers to listen to reason and give our farmers a voice at government level. Little did we know, or realise, academia would provide that voice.
How happy I was to read Prof Johann Kirsten’s article on Prof Mohammad Karaan (2 December 2011, page 38)! I knew we’ve found a person of high intellect who, by virtue of his knowledge, not his race or colour, could convince the often anti-farmer government to listen to sound and proven advice.
Another point of debate for 2012 is land distribution. It’s our considered opinion that not enough time or effort is, or was, given to our rural and landless communities to give input on the Green Paper. This will lead to continued unhappiness once over-hasty decisions on restitution, distribution and compensation are made in the future.
I mention this because FW has, over the last few years, given all these aspects of agriculture in-depth coverage with fantastic articles, yet few ministers of agriculture, the present incumbent included, have approached FW for it to be used as a platform for continuous feedback or to illicit feedback from the broader agricultural sector! Yet, in a true democracy, that should be the norm.
Lastly, let me comment on my 40-plus years of reading FW as an Afrikaanse boertjie from the Koster area whose family trampled deep tracks there. I’ve yet to read an article in this now 100-year-old magazine that didn’t have any significance for your readers…all were always relevant!
As an avid reader and dedicated pro-farmer activist, I pledge our loyal support to FW as our mouthpiece of choice on all matters agriculture. May 2012 bring great joy and prosperity to FW and all our farmers, the heroes of our society.