Investments in the agri sector could be scuppered, food prices could rise and job losses would mount.
Three Agriculture Business Chamber (AgriBiz) researchers have warned that government’s populist proposal to expropriate land without compensation might result in a prolonged period of no new investments in SA’s agriculture sector and food insecurity for the poor.
AgriBiz’s Theo Boshoff, Wandile Sihlobo, and Sifiso Ntombela have argued in a research paper that expropriation without compensation has massive economic implications and could impact property rights across key sectors of the economy.
Buckling under pressure to fast-track its land reform targets, the ANC agreed to push for land expropriation without compensation at its elective conference in December 2017. In doing this, the governing ANC requires a two-thirds threshold in Parliament to amend Section 25 of the Bill of Rights, which promotes access to land by citizens, just and equitable compensation in the event of expropriation.
By the government’s admission, SA’s land reform programme is widely considered to have failed over the last two decades, with over 80% of beneficiaries unable to build an agricultural surplus and productive capacity.
The researchers said agriculture makes up 2.5% of SA’s GDP but when including the sector’s entire value-chain (industries including animal feed, plant health, food processing, transport, and storage) the contribution increases to 7%.