Land must be seen as commodity and handled as normal risks by the mega farmers and land reform is not seen as a threat, says Dr Piet Croucamp, presenter of the programme “Mega Boere” on KykNet.
Dr Croucamp was asked at a recent Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) to point out factors making mega farmers in South Africa successful. Relationships between farm workers and land owners are of cardinal importance for success and if possible, farm workers should be allowed to build assets. This aspect however should be seen in the context where numerous mega farmers in South Africa also have big processing plants for their products and where workers then get shares in the business
Institutional memory is very important and in many cases of the mega farmers the experience of the generations with regard to farming is a big contribution towards the success of the farming. In spite of the successes which were achieved by the ancestors, the current farmers have to think differently about their farming and the use of technology. Development and entry into international markets in many cases also led to the success of the mega farmers. Again this point has to be seen in context with regard to the size of the farming enterprise.
In many cases of the mega farmers the increase in productivity was the success of the farming rather than the expansion of the farming. Dr Croucamp also holds the same view as the well-known economist, Dawie Rood, that the traditional so-called small farmers will phase out and that farming in future will be in the hands of companies and other entities. In South Africa the number of farmers has decreased from 100 000 a few years ago to 40 000 currently and he expects that it will still decrease despite increased food production.