Let us run agriculture

As an aspiring white farmer, I am concerned about the ANC’s perceived bias against anything that is a farmer, or more specifically, a white farmer.

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Perhaps some kind ANC gentleman – or would it once again be delegated to a kind ANC lady as is the protocol today – would be willing to explain this conundrum to white, coloured, Indian and black aspiring farmers? Of course, the ANC will firstly deny it and then falter on and recall its perceived past subservience as the reason for the bias. It just can’t seem to bridge the past into the future – even some of its most astute politicians, it seems, are hell-bent on ‘correcting’ the so-called past.

To darken the skies even more, we are currently also saddled with arguably, the most inept agriculture department on the continent. It is not fair to criticise and simultaneously not provide an alternative to the problem. My call is not politically-motivated, but a call to reason and logic. We need genuine leadership to move ideology to the background, in order to move agriculture to the forefront of the National Democratic Revolution agenda.

Africa has always been associated with a begging-syndrome, unable to loosen the historical bonds of the past. When the ANC came into power, the West believed that South Africa would not fall into the same trap as the rest of Africa, but alas, in the past 18 years we’ve moved from a net exporter of agricultural goods to a net importer. My panacea is to rid the agricultural ministry of politicians and replace it with a group of professional farmers.

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The current political division between ‘emerging’ farmers and commercial farmers and the manner in which each is treated by the agricultural department not only causes even deeper divisions among farmers, but creates an impassable divide in terms of long-term financial success. I challenge the minister of agriculture, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to respond and offer her suggestions for the long-term agricultural financial sustainability of all South African farmers!