AGRICULTURE

 

Agriculture is the central economic activity in large parts of South Africa.  Therefore the NP believes that this sector must be accessible to everyone, and that all farmers must receive equal treatment.  Agricultural financing must therefore place sufficient emphasis on the needs of new farmers, while agricultural resources are as a whole protected as a national asset.

 

The NP believes that the economically efficient production of quality agricultural products must be promoted.  Research, technology, development, expansion and training must remain top priorities throughout the agricultural sector. The NP is in favour of strict control over the genetic modification of animal and plant species, a well as the promotion of the responsible use of agricultural chemicals.

 

A comprehensive national resource management system should be introduced that will guide new developments with regard to land use planning, water availability and environmental impact.  We specifically need a uniform, comprehensive policy on water resource development and utilisation that will take into account the different claims on South Africa’s limited water resources.  Our agricultural sector also needs a well-developed economic infrastructure that will be sustainable maintained as a rural development priority.

 

The NP is also of the opinion that the quality of life of rural communities, including farm worker communities, must be improved by access to education, cultural and recreational facilities, as well as proper housing and services.

 

The NP believes that, in light of the fact that South Africa is the only country in the Western economy that receives virtually no subsidies, the State must put in place mechanisms that will protect South African farmers against other countries’ government subsidies.  Due to our unique climate, South Africa should also have a disaster aid scheme – partly to protect the agricultural sector and the economy against serious damage, as well as to protect job opportunities.

 

The NP believes that the Government has a duty to subsidise farmers and to protect the markets. Food security is vital. Under the past NP we witnessed a productive sector under a Government that understands the vital position of agriculture in the broader context of security.

 

LAND REFORM

 

As neighbours, we have seen what happens when two decades of foot-dragging on land reform eventually leads to a situation where people’s frustration and anger boil over and when they take the law into their own hands.

 

If the NP’s policy is followed, this will not happen in South Africa. The NP’s approach to land reform stands in direct contrast to that of Zimbabwe, which is characterised by a disregard for the rule of law and property rights.  It stands in direct contrast to the approach that has led to the destruction of agricultural opportunities, investment confidence, and food security in many African countries an in the rest of the world.

 

The government target of obtaining 30% of commercial farmland in South African and the distributing it to emerging farmers by 2015, calls for innovative programmes if it is to be successful without undermining property rights, the rule of law, and investor confidence.  The NP believes that the best solution to the problems of available land lies in the principles of the free market.  New black, coloured and Indian farmers must not only be provided with land, but they must also receive training and assistance so that they can develop a viable farm.  The making available of state-owned land must form a vital part of land reform in South Africa.

 

It is in the interest of food security that agricultural land is utilised optimally and that commercial agriculture is promoted.  The NP believes that the State must provide a sufficient budget to purchase land for orderly and fair redistribution.  Organised agriculture has a key role to play to make available expertise to new farmers.

 

The NP understands the need for land restitution in South Africa, yet we realise the sensitivities and suspicion surrounding restitution and the expropriation of land, in particular, in this country. There are very few issues that stir up as much emotion as debates on land, land reform and expropriation.  The NP recognises that land restitution must take place, but it must take place I such a way that it is acceptable to both black, Indian, coloured and white South Africans.

 

The NP is of the view that courts should always have the final say in the settlement of land claims.  The new Amendment Act now ensures that courts will have the final say.

 

The NP believes in the principle of willing seller / willing buyer for the redistribution of land. New farmers, no matter the race, must not only be provided with land, but they must also receive training and assistance so that they can develop a viable farm. It in the interest of food security that agricultural land is utilised optimally and that commercial agriculture is promoted. The NP believes that the State must provide sufficient budget to purchase land for orderly and fair redistribution. The NP opposes land grabs or any form of nationalisation of farms.

 

Organised agriculture has a key role to play to make available expertise to new incoming farmers. State land, of which there is too much that goes uncultivated, must also as far as possible be made available to settle new farmers. Strong action is also needed against those guilty of forming illegal, informal town settlements on farms. The NP believes that farm workers must be provided with quality housing on farms.

 

WAGES ON FARMS

 

The NP is in favour of the idea of a minimum wage to protect farm workers against exploitation. The NP is however concerned about the harmful effects of the new system of minimum wages on South African agriculture and more specifically on levels of employment, job creation and poverty in agriculture communities.

 

The NP is concerned that many farm workers as a consequence of the prescribed minimum wage system, will eventually lose many extras to which they have become accustomed over the years, and that it will destroy an open hand relationship. The NP believes that Government, in the interest of farmers, farm workers and the whole of South Africa, must urgently review the details of the current minimum wage system for farm workers. This legislation will not lift farming communities’ standard of living, although it would contribute to the protection of workers. The real key is for farmers and farm workers to make a bigger effort to treat one another as partners.

 

FISHING LICENSES

 

The NP believes that all small-scale fishers should have the right to obtain fishing licenses. The NP will restore this right to our small-scale fishers. Large companies should be limited to quotas, while small-scale fishers should get first priority in the issuing of fishing licenses.

 

   

 

 

 
 

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