Hotline for farm dwellers on the way

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pretoria - The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is working on setting up a Hotline which will iron out problems faced by farm dwellers.

"We will set up a national Hotline for the farm dwellers, so that those farm workers who are being abused or illegally evicted can access assistance speedily," Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said.

She also announced that progress was being made towards hosting a number of provincial mini farm-dweller summits, followed with a national summit later this year.

The objective of the summit, among other things, is to engage the farming community on their plight, while creating mechanisms for speedy intervention where this is required in the areas of crime, security of tenure, education and training and job and economic development stimulation.

The minister was speaking at the Ministers and Members of Executive Council Meeting (MINMEC), yesterday.

The MINMEC also noted that long-term relationships between black and white farmers could enhance food security in the country, and improve the chances of success for black smallholder farmers.

In this light, the MECs were encouraged to create a database of the status of black-owned farms in order to assess the impact of land reform, land restitution and redistribution.

She assured the meeting that the department would do things differently year.

"We are going to do things differently from this year on, giving real, practical meaning to the developmental state that is geared towards delivering equitable transformation, improving rural livelihoods, stimulating inclusive rural economies and creating highly successful black agricultural entrepreneurs."