Farmers unsettled by farm worker share proposal

The possibility that farmers would be “encouraged” by the state to apportion shares in their farms to farm workers, was worrying commercial farmers.

The share option was contained in a proposed policy document of the department of rural development and land reform, Beeld reported.

It was suggested that a farm worker with 10 years of “disciplined service” on a commercial farm would be entitled to a 10% share in the ownership of the land.

After 25 years of service, a worker would be entitled to 25%, and 50% after 50 years.

No mention was made of what would happen when a number of labourers worked on the same farm for more than 10 years.

The system would not be “enforceable” and farmers would be encouraged to “voluntarily” participate.

An incentive program would encourage farm owners to participate.

Annelize Crosby, legal and policy adviser for Agri SA, said on Wednesday that the policy did not make any sense at all.

“If there is any remote possibility of forced compliance to this idea, it will lead to disinvestment and a sharp decline in agricultural production.”

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