#TAKEONRACISM: Race matters in agriculture

Tension is brewing in the agricultural sector, given recent commentary on land claims. Photograph sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

Racism is like a virus; ever-adapting and ever-present.

The agricultural sector remains one of the hardest-hit areas, thanks to constant tension over land ownership and more recent sparks over farm claims.

A local farmer agreed to tackle this contentious matter.

Agreeing to answer a series of questions on condition of anonymity, the farmer explained he was not aware of any race-related problems on local farms recently.

“No recent incidents, but it’s still evident when talking among different communities that different racial groups harbour misgivings about each other.”

The farmer has had irrigation lines cut by vandals in the past, but reserved judgement on whether this was racially motivated or not.

In terms of racism in the agricultural sector, he does have his opinions.

Responding to a question on the biggest obstacle or fuel for racism, the farmer said it was government and political parties promising land to farm workers/ occupiers, to garner votes.

“These promises are unfounded and cause the farm inhabitants to believe they can use the land surrounding their dwellings as their own. This leads to obvious conflicts.”

The farmer explained the Department of Rural Development attempted to spread the correct message about land use for farm occupiers, but in his experience this was largely ignored due to the political rhetoric he mentioned earlier.

This forced farmers to apply for evictions and approach the courts.

Asked about the expropriation of land, the farmer said this was his single-biggest concern, especially if it was handled as Zimbabwe had.

“I have paid for my farm and do not believe it justifiable for it to be expropriated, because of wrongs committed by people hundreds of years ago, who happen to have had the same skin colour as me,” he concluded.

Bruce Douglas

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