The Bridge Building Land Summit held last week was a platform for farmers, agricultural students, legal experts and representatives from various organisations to discuss important questions on land reform.
Keynote speakers addressed issues of land ownership, skills development and market penetration.
Organiser of the Summit, Jan Oosthuizen said “we need to build bridges in South Africa, we need to find national cohesion. We hear enough about the problems, we need solutions now.”
Land reform, expropriation without compensation and ownership have been topics widely problematic and complex in South Africa, however some independent civic organisations have been exploring avenues towards sustainable land ownership and economic empowerment.
A Witzenberg Valley based private initiative, Partners in Agri Land Solutions or PALS is showing promise with progressive land reform projects. PALS aims to see an increase in private ownership of land for black people to improve their livelihoods and eradicate poverty in a sustainable manner.
Addressing the legal issues, Land Claims Court Acting Judge Dr. Wallace Mgoqi said “the commissioners who were originally intended to lead the processing of claims must be restored”.
“The people who have been excluded in the past, when they are included, they will contribute tremendously to the growth domestic product of this country. That will contribute towards social justice and it will contribute towards people living in human dignity, which is one of the values of our Constitution.”
Future Farmers is an organisation that recognised and acted on bridging the gap between young agricultural students and top commercial farmers. The project aims to train and qualify men and women and place them on large commercial farms so that they can gain experience and become successful commercial farm managers or farmers in their own right.
This is part of a series of videos produced for the SAPA+ #Inform campaign.