The government is embarking on accelerating its land re-distribution programme. They will acquire operating farms from successful farmers and transfer these to new black owners.
The population of South Africa is growing, not only naturally, but by the movement of people from outside of the borders, in search of a better life.
Each year as the population grows more demand is placed on the scarce resources of South Africa. Food is a very important scarce resource.
In any change of ownership and management there is risk of some failure no matter who the new management is. And the more unfamiliar and inexperienced the new management is, the higher the risk becomes. I think that this is common sense.
It however makes little sense why risks are taken with such a scarce resource when this can be avoided and perhaps even improved.
I wonder if the government has considered that it owns a tremendous amount of unused arable land. And that some of this land could be developed into productive farming units.
And that in developing the new land, future owners and managers can gain invaluable insight and experience and also draw on the knowledge of existing experienced farmers and their associations.
If any of these farming units should fail for any reason whatsoever it will have no effect of the current agricultural output. Some money will however have been lost.
If an existing productive farming unit fails then the current agricultural output reduces by the amount of the historical output of that unit.
The two scenarios here both have a direct impact on food security. One presents a positive risk (we could lose that which we did not have as yet) and the other a negative risk (we could lose what we already have).
By nature I am risk averse so for me and perhaps a good number of other people the obvious choice would be to develop new land and avoid tampering with existing productive farming unity.
I have been trying to find the downside of new developments as opposed to taking over existing farms. Maybe Iím dof but I donít see any. I see only fair risks with excellent prospects.
There is however one possibility. In government buying an existing productive farm the new managers and owners instantly become people of standing, black people in charge of a large and successful enterprise. Instant gratification? Yes?
This can and probably will be used to score political points....and this will be good for the ruling party. This short-sightedness can however place the countryís food security at risk.
A growing population with a diminishing food supply will lead to higher prices for locally produced food and more money leaving the country for imported food. This means that some people will eat less and some not at all. A hungry population is a volatile and dangerous population.
One of governmentís primary functions is to ensure that the population has enough food.