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South Africa could face food shortage if white farmers migrate to Australia, Federal MP...

• http://www.abc.net.au

A Federal MP has warned there could be food shortages in South Africa if white farmers are allowed to migrate en-masse to Australia.

Key points:

Nationals MP Andrew Broad claims South Africa could suffer a food shortage if white farmers migrate

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says farmers need help from a "civilised country"

A forum will be held next month for concerned South African expatriates

The Government is considering options to help white South African farmers resettle in Australia, following reports of increased violence towards them.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad, who used to be president of the Victorian Farmers' Federation and travelled to South Africa several years ago, said white farmers were essential to South Africa's economy.

"If we take away the farmers from South Africa, we rob them of the capacity to farm that ground and ultimately feed the population," Mr Broad said.

"So we'd be better to be working with the South African Government to make them value those white farmers, rather than trying to help them flee."

Expats cautiously welcome visa plans


Farmer Marc Deas, who moved to Australia from South Africa 12 years ago because he feared for his family's safety, says there is a strong appetite for farmers to leave.

Two decades after apartheid ended, the country is still grappling with how to restore land to black South Africans, and fears of a Zimbabwe-style land takeback are being dismissed by South Africa's Government.

Mr Broad said an "even bigger humanitarian crisis", like a food shortage, could emerge if the situation escalated.

"The great lesson from Zimbabwe is when you value your farmers, you have food on the supermarket shelves," he said.

"The black South African farmers certainly have not proved themselves. They need the skillset of the white south African farmers if they're going to have any chance of feeding the population they've got."

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has described the farmers as "persecuted" people who need help from a "civilised country", but Mr Broad is urging his colleagues to be cautious.

"I would say it's always easy to speak in ignorance and it's important to be going over and having a look and seeing what's happening on the ground before making policies," he said.

 

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