President Cyril Ramaphosa says it is important to release state land in order to transform the agricultural landscape and grow a new generation of farmers.

In his weekly letter to the nation, Ramaphosa spoke of the Department of Agriculture’s plan to allow members of the public to apply to lease 700 000 hectares of underutilized or vacant state land in seven provinces.

He says this major milestone in the agrarian reform process will aim to strike a balance between social justice and redress, and enhancing agricultural output by bringing more black farmers into the mainstream of the economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says transforming patterns of agricultural land ownership is vital, not just in addressing the historical injustices of the past but also to safeguard the country’s food security.

He says releasing state-owned land for agriculture will create opportunities for farming to support job creation and enterprise development, and improve the market for food, agricultural goods and services.

He says government will ensure beneficiaries are supported along the road to sustainability and profitability.