Legally speaking, agriculture is heading for interesting times as legal practitioners were entering the ring of agriculture boldly. Land reform, farm dwellings, animal rights, water rights are some of the grey areas in which some Acts are found wanting. Legal minds like Katli Ngwane, and her partner Steph Grobler, are changing the landscape of agriculture by advising emerging farmers. Mzansi Agriculture Talk set down with this dynamic legal bomb, co-founder of Katika consultancy, to hear her views on the prevailing agricultural environment.
Who is Katli Ngwane and how is she related to Legal Beoremeisie?
Legal Boeremeisie is Katli Ngwane, I am a lawyer that specializes in all thing’s agriculture within the legal framework of our country.
What prompted or inspired you to enter the agriculture field?
I find the agricultural sector to be very interesting and ever dynamic especially from the point of view of our laws in the country. Being a constitutional dispensation, there are many things to be considered in this space, things like transformation, land reform, new entrants into a market that is predominantly still white owned, skills transfer and of course and most importantly, food security.
How important is the function of legal in agriculture especially for farmers?
I think many farmers especially new entrants to the market underestimate the legal compliance required in order to start farming and this is where my expertise comes in, to hold their hand through those legal hoops.
What are your views about contract farming?
Agricultural transactions and contracts differ, depending on what is being produced and what the farmer seeks to achieve. While I can assist, it would be on a case to case, there is no master contract that covers the whole sector.
Another thorny issue is water rights, how do you help farmers in this regard?
We do water use licence applications on behalf of our clients, and yes and it can be quite an arduous process and task, but that is why we are here, to do all legalities on behalf of our client so they can focus on what they do best, which is, farming.
Land reform is at our doorstep, what will inhibit it from being successful?
Legislatively, land reform already exists and is there, it’s the execution and implementation of land reform that has been the issue and continues to be an issue. The sector is tricky because it relies heavily on people having the necessary skill set in order to farm, and those that have the skill set being willing to transfer that knowledge down to ensure that land reform is successful.