Flexi bond rethink won’t hurt farmers

Absa’s reconsidering of its Flexi loans on bonds will have minimum impact on farmers, said Ernst Janovsky, general manager at Absa Agribusiness.
Issue date 01 August 2008

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Absa’s reconsidering of its Flexi loans on bonds will have minimum impact on farmers, said Ernst Janovsky, general manager at Absa Agribusiness. “While homeowners in general might be struggling with bond repayments at current interest rates, farmers are doing very well,” he said. “Farms currently occupy less than 1% of Absa’s bad debt book.”

Flexi bonds allow customers with home loans to add or extract money from their mortgage accounts. “Some customers were asked to reapply for this facility when it was suspended during an investigation of affordability,” said Gavin Opperman, operational manager of asset finance at Absa. “The rationale behind this type of account is that people can pay more than required when they have extra disposable income and withdrawals can be made up to the maximum amount loaned. “We find that some people abuse the facility, never making capital repayments, and in the extreme case of bank repossession, the outstanding amount can be larger than the value of the house.” – Wouter Kriel

Limpopo town plans for water sustainability

With mines, power stations and industry, the once sleepy Bushveld town of is booming. Recently, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the local municipality held a water summit there to discuss the sustainability of this scarce resource. T he main source of water in the area is the Mokolo Dam, which sustains the town, the Grootegeluk coal mine, the Matimba power station and a relatively small irrigation scheme.

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All delegates agreed that existing water sources must be well managed and used optimally as there isn’t enough water in the area for the ever-growing demand. One of the plans mentioned to address the water shortages is to pump water from the Crocodile River into a holding dam in the Lephalale area. But, before water can be pumped into the area Fred van Zyl, national director of planning and information for water services, stressed that it must be proved that the existing water is being preserved and used effectively.

Delegates agreed that the following must be considered when water rights are allocated: the support of emerging black and small farmers; the support of agricultural co-ops; and the initiation of networks and mentoring programmes between existing and new farmers. I t was, however, stressed that food security must not be endangered by the allocation process. A water consumer’s forum will be formed shortly. – Piet Viljoen

Court action threat sees stock theft drop in Free State

the Chairperson of the Stock Theft Forum in the Free State, Johan Stadler from Heilbron, said it seems as if crime has stabilised in the province and even declined somewhat on the Lesotho border. “speculate that the decline in crime on the border could be attributed to an increase in police activity following Free State Agriculture’s decision to take government to court because of the breakdown of law and order in the border areas,” said Stadler. “Nevertheless, nine of the 10 so-called stock theft hot spots in the Free State are in the eastern Free State. This includes towns such as Harrismith, Bethlehem and Vrede.” said stock thieves in the province’s cruelty to animals is terrifying.

“The criminals go to any lengths and, believe it or not, on one occasion we found one guy with three head of cattle in a Toyota Taz,” said Stadler. “All the seats except the driver’s seat were removed. On another occasion we found a bull hidden in a haystack.” A total of 3 824 cattle, 8 426 sheep, 491 goats, 119 horses, 123 pigs, 220 head of game, 965 poultry and three ostriches were stolen in the from April 2007 to September 2007 – Annelie Coleman

Manuel for Land Bank – agriculture’s say

Paul van der Walt: TAU-SA “Trevor Manuel is better suited to do the job than Lulama Xingwana. The problem is that we don’t know how long he will stay in his current position in the light of the removal of premiers Ebrahim Rasool of the Western Cape and Nosimo Balindlela of the Eastern Cape. There is a possibility that he might follow in their footsteps, given the current political atmosphere in South Africa. Nevertheless, it’s of cardinal importance that the Land Bank starts operating on sound economic and financial principles. There is no way that the bank can survive if the practice of lending money to all and sundry without the responsibility of repayment is continued.”
Dr John Purchase: Agricultural Business Chamber

 “We welcome such a move and have actually asked for it in the past. It is of the utmost importance that new trust be established in the Land Bank. Agriculture and agribusiness in South Africa are dependent on the bank’s survival. The bank has an important role to play, but it’s in all probability better to consider rebuilding it from scratch than merely trying to turn the current situation around.”

Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.