News about the insignificant progress made by the Land Bank to assist in transforming and developing the agricultural sector by bringing in more black farmers in the industry has sparked ourage on social media.
The Land Bank recently appeared in front of the committee on agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in parliament to present on transformation and inclusive growth in the agricultural sector. The Bank reported that in 2012, it launched the Retail Emerging Markets (REM) Unit to assist emerging farmers to access funding who would not ordinarily receive assistance from commercial banks.Through the REM Unit lent R101.7 million in 2012 while in 2017 it lent R967.2 million. Through all its divisions, the Land Bank was able to lend out R35.5 billion.
However, the Land Bank needs to urgently provide details on transformation in the sector regarding empowering emerging farmers, in particular, how many women, youth and farmers with disabilities were assisted and how many agricultural entrepreneurs have emerged during the period 2015 to 2018.
The Land Bank was requested to report back to the Committee in writing within 14 days. Due to time constraints, the Committee indicated it will further engage with the Land Bank on their developmental agenda and transformation.
Reacting to the news on Facebook, users didn’t hold back their outrage towards the Land Bank’s slow progress in transforming the industry.
Facebook user, Egan Duminy posted “I sat there yesterday and listened, frustrated. They consider themselves as just another commercial financial institution with a profit motive and not a bank with a developmental mission. They need to be restructured, as well as the IDC. Both are relics of our apartheid past”.
Thabo Nkwali Wezo said “I was so annoyed about their requirements where I should have 10% of the total sum required on the loan. How the hell will I have 10% being a small-scale farmer, ANC has failed us a long time ago”.
“The systems created for assisting small-scale and emerging farmers has failed us big time, and not only land bank. One must try all department to assist with a basic tractor for a day and see if they get results. You get sent pillar to post. Imagine a request for land,” commented another user, Isaac Ditshego Segoatle.
Puna Mogotsi said “Clearly Land Bank is not interested in SMEs. They want proven models only and their requirements make it difficult for a small farmer without SECURITY”.
“Land Bank has no direction in assisting small-scale farmers. If you apply through Land Bank you must be prepared to wait for 3 years before you get an answer. Officials have egos, they don’t respect black entrepreneurs and that must come to an end,” another frustrated user, Msamaria Ndiyaza, commented.
Vusumuzi Mtsweni said “It is a near obvious conclusion that this institution benefits the elites. It’s run just like any other Government institutions. The attitude from the consultants is appalling. You will swear they are in their homes when dealing with you. I wish I could share how evil and with impunity, they dealt with my request for funding!”