2 November, 2016
Agri SA Comments on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill
The protection of agricultural land, especially high potential agricultural land, is of crucial importance. Agri SA has been advocating for the protection of agricultural land for decades. Many competing land uses such as residential developments and mining are making serious inroads into the availability of agricultural land for farming purposes, especially with regards to high potential agricultural land. Whilst these industries have dedicated legislation regulating land use for their purposes, agriculture as a land use worthy of protection has largely been neglected up to now. We therefore welcome the initiative to legislate the preservation and development of agricultural land and thank the Department for the opportunity to comment.
The protection of agricultural land supports the right to food, which is a universally protected human right. The right to food is a universal human right proclaimed in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating that everyone has the right to "a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food..." The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1966) proclaims both a right to adequate food and to be free from hunger in Article 11. At regional level the right to food is implicitly protected in the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights (1981). The 2004 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of the African union furthermore underscores the importance of the Agricultural sector in the development of African nations. The recognition of the right to health in Article 16 can be interpreted as protecting the right to food and Article 60 stipulates that African governments should implement the right to food on the international level, such as by accepting the ICESCR. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the United Nations body overseeing the implementation of the ICESCR, confirms:
"...the right to adequate food is indivisibly linked to the inherent dignity of the human person and is indispensable for the fulfilment of other human rights enshrined in the International Bill of Rights."
Our own Constitution also provides for the right of access to sufficient food and water in section 27 thereof. Agri SA is therefore strongly in favour of the protection of agricultural land as proposed in this Bill but believe that certain amendments are required in order for the Bill to optimally reach its potential. It is in this spirit that we implore the Department to take the following comments into consideration as we believe that it will contribute to the process of generating solid protection for agricultural land through this Bill.
Read the full document HERE
Source: Agri SA