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February 19, 2009

Available agricultural land declines in South Africa, says farmers' union

A decrease in land usage for farming was placing a "serious burden" on farmers, agricultural union TAU-South Africa has said. In a statement, the body said the findings of the census of commercial agriculture 2007 showed that there was a decrease totalling 17 998 of farming units since 1993. It said that it could be concluded that land used for production was decreasing. "This places a serious burden on the shoulders of farmers utilising their land productively," said TAU SA.

TAU SA president Ben Marais said that agricultural land which was already scarce was becoming "even scarcer." This he said could be ascribed to agricultural land being claimed by communities, farm murders which impacted on the productivity of the land, and rising input costs.

"It is in the interests of this country's citizens that the authorities should activate action plans to ensure that South Africa will be able to produce sufficient food for domestic purposes as well as for export to neighbouring states where famine is rapidly becoming a reality," said Marais.

The census covered 39 982 active commercial farming units but excluded small scale and subsistence farmers.

This was a 12.7% decrease compared to the 45 818 farming units that were active in the previous census.

SAPA

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