SAfrica farmers union against speedy land reform
* Drastic land reform could undermine confidence
* Union calls for discussions on policy changes
JOHANNESBURG, June 9 (Reuters) - South Africa's largest farmers group on Wednesday said government plans to speed up land reform would undermine farmers' confidence and affect the security of food supplies in Africa's biggest economy.
South Africa's land affairs department recently published a strategic plan for 2010-2013 in which it proposed options to speed up land transfers to the black majority. [ID:nLDE63S2J9]
Johannes Moller, president of Agri SA, said shortcomings in the existing policy should instead be addressed in partnership with the private sector to ensure sustainable land reform.
"It's in no one's interest, and certainly not in the interest of the poor, to introduce drastic land reform measures that will undermine confidence and have an adverse effect on food security," Moller said in a statement.
South Africa's land reform programme has caused unease and slowed investment in the agricultural sector as white commercial farmers remain unsure of whether to reinvest in farms under claim by black farmers.
After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa's government set a target of handing over 30 percent of commercial farmland to blacks by 2014 as part of a plan to correct racial imbalances in land distribution caused by apartheid.
The government said earlier this year it would not meet the target due to lack of funds to purchase land. [ID:nLDE61P0L9]
Moller said the group was not consulted on the land reform policy review and called for discussions with government on how to deal with obstacles hampering the land reform programme.
"Agri SA is concerned that consultation after the publication of a green paper on this important and highly emotional matter could leave very little room for changes," Moller said.
"The organisation proposes orderly transformation within a legal framework, with adequate financing and other assistance as prerequisites," he added. (Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda, editing by Jane Baird)