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September 19, 2010

South African farmers get more land deal offers in Africa

South African farmers have received new land offers to grow crops across Africa, bringing the total number of countries offering farming opportunities to 22, a major farmers' group said on September 17.

South Africa -- the continent's biggest economy -- has one of the most developed agricultural sectors on the continent and its farmers are looking to expand into other countries.

Farmers group Agri SA said there had been growing interest from other African countries for South African farmers to invest in those nations.

"Namibia has become the 22nd country to invite Agri SA to establish irrigation (farms) along the banks of the Orange and Kunene Rivers," Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager said in a statement. "Last week Gabon made a presentation to Agri SA's Africa committee, while the contracts between South African farmers and the Republic of Congo should soon be finalised."

Agri SA said more than 1,000 South African farmers are already producing crops in Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya.

South African farmers have in the recent past also received land offers from countries like Uganda, Angola and Libya.

But lack of bilateral agreements between South Africa and some countries had discouraged farmers from investing in certain places. The grouping said it would carefully scrutinise bilateral agreements between South Africa and potential host countries before making investments.

"It is becoming increasingly important to manage the impact that large-scale production of certain commodities in our neighbouring states can have on local markets," de Jager said.

Agri SA said it would help South African farmers to secure financing from local and international sources for their investments.

Agri SA said in July that financiers like Standard Bank, Absa and Standard Chartered had shown interest to fund land buys and that the Chinese have been talking with South African farmers to finance their cross-border investments.


Reuters

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