South Africa Struggles To Redistribute Farmland

<p>A 2014 goal of 30% farm ownership by blacks in South Africa is far from being met, as whites still control more than 80% of the nation's farmland. Many say the government's land reform laws are incapable of efficiently redistributing the land.</p>
May 5, 2007, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"When the African National Congress (ANC) took power in 1994, with the black majority's overwhelming backing, whites owned about 87% of South Africa's farmland. The new government set a target for at least 30% of it to be transferred to blacks by 2014. More than a decade on, only 4% has changed hands. Now, under pressure from its core supporters, the government says it will expropriate more land and review the willing-seller-willing-buyer principle under which it has operated so far."

"About 5% of farmland has been up for sale every year, which in theory makes the 30% target look easily obtainable. In KwaZulu-Natal, black farmers have actually bought as much land on their own as the government has redistributed."

"But there is often a mismatch between the farms for sale, usually quite large ones, and what would-be farmers can buy with the small government grants they receive. By law, to preserve efficiency, farms may not be subdivided."

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Published on Thursday, May 3, 2007 in The Economist
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