Farming must provide food for the nation and provide a satisfactory standard of living for rural families. The productivity of the land and the environment must be preserved. The IFP strongly believes that the neglect of the past must be rectified.
Free markets for farm products are desirable because they provide full information to farmers on market conditions. Farmers should be encouraged to enter into contracts with buyers. Farmers should be represented on all institutions which have been established to assist agriculture.
Security of tenure for farming must be assured, whether through ownership or through rental contract. Unused or under-utilised land should be made available to would-be farmers. State held land should be leased rather than sold to farmers in order to facilitate easier entry into farming, and to preserve the capital of would-be farmers for the establishment of farming enterprises. Good farming land should only be allocated to farmers with proven skills.
Access to loan funds is essential for all farmers. Loans should be provided under similar terms and conditions for all farmers. Security in the form of livestock, machinery and improvements, and expected farm output should be accepted by lending institutions. Special measures should be considered to ease the interest rate burden of emerging farmers.
Government grants should not be made available to farmers . Instead, the IFP would prefer that soft loans be granted as these transfer greater responsibility on to the farmer. Soft loans should not normally be provided for more than three years. Duplication between the government and other agricultural finance providers should be avoided.
Small co-operatives should be established to offer emerging farmers reasonably priced goods and to assist with marketing and finance. These co-operatives should also advise government on research matters appropriate to the needs of emerging commercial farmers.
Extension services should devote attention to problems in livestock farming due to the large capital sums invested in these enterprises. Free extension services should only be provided to emerging farmers.
The low productivity of livestock farming should be urgently addressed since the largest single investment on most small farms today is in livestock. Over-grazing must be discouraged and access to veterinary services should be improved.
The rationalisation of water usage for farmers must be encouraged through the introduction of appropriate tariffs for water. Farmers who capture their own water should not be charged therefor.
Information services to farmers should be improved through the creative use of new technology.
The dumping of foreign food in South Africa should be discouraged except during periods of shortage.
Women in agriculture
The role of women in agriculture should be recognised. Training courses for women, and other emerging farmers, should be offered by the state.
The state, in co-operation with the IDC and IDT, should encourage beneficiation of agricultural products wherever this is viable.
Services to farmers should emanate mainly from the private sector. Soft loans might be offered to encourage the development of services. Co-operation among farmers and the sharing of services should be encouraged.
Many rural areas have very little in the way of infrastructure such as roads, electricity supply and piped water. Government should undertake to improve the infrastructure in previously neglected rural areas.