Key Points:

  • Land reform in South Africa has been a subject of intense research at CDE. In 2007, CDE hosted a roundtable with a cross-section of farmers and other role-players in agriculture to gain deeper insights into realities on the ground.
  • The roundtable revealed the extent of land under claim in commercial agricultural sectors – at least 50% in the sugar industry and 30-40% in timber – and the serious negative consequences of having such large tracts of land under claim for extended periods of time.
  • What emerged is that there is a disjuncture between current approaches to restitution and redistribution, and the realities of commercial agriculture.
  • This is leading to declining investment in the domestic sector and the diversification of South African agriculture to other countries.
  • Successful land reform in any country is difficult. Farmers and other stakeholders described land reform as an area “thick with problems”.

Op-ed: Grim harvest for SA unless problems are met urgently