Reacting to the Minister of Agriculture and Affairs’ admission in parliament that of the 79 696 restitution claims, only 57 555 had been gazetted, TAU SA president Paul van der Walt called on government to put outstanding claims on hold for the next 10 years to ensure that administrative procedures are properly effected. He said landowners have invested heavily in their land and businesses and “should the current Expropriation Bill become a reality they could lose everything without being properly compensated”.
He asked if there was a calculated process of delaying claims in order to first implement the Bill and the Land Use Management Act. With such legislation in place, farms could be expropriated without being compensated at the market value of their properties. “If government is incapable of performing administrative tasks such as publishing registered claims in the Government Gazette, something is seriously wrong,” added Van der Walt. e said government should explain to the claimants why claims are not receiving attention. Farmers cannot be expected to live with the current levels of uncertainty and still be expected to enthusiastically produce sufficient food for the country. – Staff reporter
A delay in relief drives Karoo farmers off their land
Conditions in the central Karoo are deteriorating as drought-crippled farmers leave their properties to look for other jobs, after their long wait in vain for R37 million in relief funds from the National Department of Agriculture. “We’re aware of farmers who have left their farms to look for jobs as their farms can no longer sustain them and their families,” said Carl Opperman, Agri Wes-Cape agricultural economist.
“Conditions are at their worst and farmers are battling to keep their livestock alive.” Large numbers of game and livestock are dying each day from the drought, and lambs perish at birth because the ewes don’t produce milk. Long wait for relief A ndré Roux, the provincial agriculture department’s director of sustainable resource management, said the province had submitted a request for drought relief funds of R37 million to the acting director of agriculture.
However there was no indication yet of when the funds would be available. “The first request for relief funds was sent to the national agriculture department in March, after the province’s drought assessment committee visited the drought-stricken areas,” said Roux. n estimated 1 400 farmworker families are currently affected by the drought conditions. “Although some of the workers are still being paid in full, others are only partially paid due to a lack of funds available to landowners,” added Roux. Recently, Heidelberg farmers donated 50t of emergency fodder to farmers in Merweville, where the effects of the drought are said to be at their most severe.
Farmers at Uniondale were currently collecting enriched fodder and raw fodder to ship to Merweville. ntonie Botes, of the Merweville Farmers’ Union, said only nine of the 90 springbok that had been in his game camp two years ago had survived. The national agriculture department could not be reached for comment on when the funds would be available. – Peter Mashala
Pesticides threaten Kenyan lions
Environmentalists in Kenya are worried that a very powerful and toxic insecticide is being used by farmers to kill lions and other predators, reports the BBC. D r Richard Leaky, a naturalist in Kenya, indicated that his research showed that the poison is being bought not only by crop farmers, but also by pastoralists who use the chemical to kill lions and leopards that threaten their herds, said the BBC report.
Recently two lions were poisoned and killed in the Masai Mara game reserve after eating the carcass of a hippopotamus that had ingested carbofuran. im Snow of the Endangered Wildlife Trust said carbofuran had been spread near vegetable crops at a tourist lodge where the hippos grazed and it killed them. “Kenyans generally seem to undervalue their wildlife or take it for granted and see domesticated livestock as more important, despite the fact that a major portion of their country’s income is derived from wildlife tourism,” said Snow.
Carbofuran comes in a granular form of tiny, dust-like purple pellets. It has been banned in Europe and the US Environmental Protection Agency is seeking a total ban, but it is sold unrestricted in Kenya. – Peter Mashala