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SA grain farmers: Land-ownership cap should be scrapped

Author: Andre Janse van Vuuren and Tshepiso Mokhema

Farmers in South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer, are concerned about the proposed backward-looking limit on title deeds, because some create their areas under cultivation by collating as many as 10 smaller deeds, Grain SA Chief Executive Officer Jannie de Villiers said in a March 18 interview in Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. Very few grain farmers would exceed holdings of 12,000 hectares, he said.

“If they are going to have a cutoff on something like that, it’s going to be unmanageable in terms of producing food for the country,” he said. Having a monetary threshold, where farmers with turnover exceeding a certain amount can only expand through collaboration with newcomers, “is a lot more practical — you’re going to maintain production. A joint venture has got a better chance than a new guy starting fresh with no experience.”

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