South Africa plans to lease state land for farming in a bid to redress longstanding racial imbalances, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday in his weekly newsletter, calling the campaign a “national priority”.
The programme involving some 700,000 hectares of vacant or underutilised land will also create jobs, he said.
Plots will be available for 30-year lease, providing they are put to agricultural use, starting later this month, according to an announcement last week by the Land Reform department.
The initiative is part of a wider land reform programme aimed at fixing disparities caused by decades of apartheid and colonialism during which most of the land was reserved for the minority white population.
“Given our history, broadening access to agricultural land for commercial production and subsistence farming is a national priority,” Ramaphosa said in a weekly letter to the nation.
“With land ownership still concentrated in the hands of the few, and agriculture primary production and value chains mainly owned by white commercial farmers, the effects of our past remain with us today.”