Deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Floyd Shivambu visited small-scale farmers in the community of Malamulele, Limpopo, on Wednesday.
The farmers of Nghezimani village in Malamulele are farming without state support, according to Shivambu, who says they are doing so quite successfully.
“I was very inspired by small scale farmers in Nghezimani village, Malamulele, who farm oranges, cabbages, onions and butternut and have no structured support from the State. They did own boreholes and irrigation system.
The farmers achieved all this, Shivambu says, without the help of government’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). He did admit, though, that there were boards from government that had been erected.
“The only donation from SEDA are the display boards, and nothing else,” said Shivambu.
This visit by Shivambu to the village seems to be in line with EFF’s policy on land. Among the party’s many promises, it is probably best known for its controversial call for land to be expropriated without compensation. The party says once the expropriation is completed, “all land should be transferred to the ownership and custodianship of the state”.
Those who intend to use the land “will apply for land-use licences, which should be granted only when there is a purpose for the land being applied for”, says the party.
“In line with the Freedom Charter and a new vision of agrarian revolution, the state should also provide implements and related extension services to help those who work the land to use it productively.”
Its policy further says “the state’s procurement of food should prioritise small-scale farmers so that small-scale farming becomes a sustainable economic activity for the majority of our people. The state must buy more than 50% of the food for hospitals, prisons and schools from small-scale farmers in order to develop small-scale agriculture”.
Some agricultural experts, however, often take a contrary position.
They say that modern, 21st-century, large-scale farming is essential for food security: crops can be grown by benefiting from economies of scale that drive down the cost of feeding large populations that are increasingly urban in nature.
However, there is also a strong view that small-scale farmers can contribute to feeding not only themselves but larger societies as well, and that this is a more adequate solution to how best to farm throughout Africa in general.