The South African government has approved a multi-million-rand funding for black farmers to acquire land, it was announced on Wednesday.

LandThe project is expected to kick start social and agricultural infrastructure upgrades on the allocated land, Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti said in Pretoria.

The funding covers a total of 31 projects to the value of approximately 146 million rand (about 11.8 million US dollars) for farm recapitalization.

It is estimated that 2,193 permanent jobs would be created out of the farm recapitalization funding with a further 639 temporal employment likely to be created, according to Nkwinti.

“This will go a long way towards fast tracking service delivery in rural areas. We are committed to sustainable agrarian reform with a thriving farming sector,” said Nkwinti.

The government acquires farms through Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS), which seeks to acquire strategically located land and redistribute this to emerging farmers. The acquisitions approved will contribute towards achieving the development goals as espoused in the National Development Plan.

The applications indicated that most emerging farmers wanted to pursue livestock farming, crops, vegetables, game, and poultry. Funding applications were also used to purchase machinery, trucks, bulls, pregnant heifers, and pack houses among other things.

“Some of the commodities that people apply to produce are for niche markets. We want to give people a chance who can create jobs and farm effectively. We do not want weekend farmers, they neglect farms,” said Nkwinti.
This programme is aimed at rekindling the class of black commercial farmers who were deprived of land by the 1913 Natives Land Act, said Nkwinti.

“We are delighted that some major commercial farmers are making offer to us first as the department. They sell to us and keep a marginal equity and they transfer key to our people,” said the minister.

In the last 21 years, the department has redistributed 82 million hectares of white-owned agricultural land, benefiting 235, 609 people. A total of 50, 882 beneficiaries are women, 33,108 are youth, and 678 are disabled people. Enditem

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