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COPE believes that company owned farms listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange will allow people to buy shares and enjoy co-ownership without sacrificing the economic viability of farms. Nearly ten thousand farmers left commercial farming in the past ten years and COPE will seek to reverse this calamitous situation. COPE believes that it is imperative that the government knows exactly how many successful farmers are still active.
Throwing tax money at the problem in farming is a policy that COPE will end. Training and skilling agriculturalists, black agriculturalists particularly, is what we will focus on. We need to guarantee food security and that requires investment on the one hand and skilled agriculturalists on the other. Buying and giving away farms without training and support is counterproductive. COPE will ensure that at least a million hectares with proper infrastructure, marketing plans and institutional support are devoted to sugar, forestry, grains, livestock and horticultural crops.
COPE’s Agricultural Policy recognises that both black and white people of South Africa will need to be proportionately engaged in commercial agriculture through single or joint ventures. Rural communities practising subsistence farming will need to be given urgent and considerable support to create diversified systems of agriculture. This will best be achieved by encouraging rural farmers and smallholders to form viable groups.