Many Afrikaans-speaking farmers from the Free State and the northern Cape -- where most of the Afrikaner family farms now face confiscation under the ANC-government's ongoing land claims programme, are among the 450 agriculturalists who have already responded to the Congolese
government's invitation to invited to move to the Congo - to come and produce food for them.
For background on the history of the Boer-Afrikaners and the Great Trek see
For decades, ever since the European settler-farmers were chased off so violently during their quest for independence in fact, the Congo has had to import vast quantities of food from France and other countries at high cost to keep their population fed. After a visit to South African farms by Congolese officials, they came away impressed by the 'inexpensive, high-quality' food produced by that country's rapidly-shrinking Afrikaner farming community, said Dr Theo de Jager of the farmers' cooperative Agri-SA.
De Jager also said about 30 others who had expressed an interest in setting up homesteads in the Congo are still in the USA. But they aren't Americans - they are Afrikaner expats who moved to the USA to work on farms there after losing their own family holdings to the ANC-government's ongoing land-redistribution programme.
There already are many Afrikaner farmers in other parts of Southern Africa right now - Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi - who own or rent farms there, often on the invitation of those governments. There is even one well-organised network of such farmers in Mozambique and Kenya who have created a trading group with Europe and already started to generate valuable foreign-exchange income for their new countries.
De Jager said the Afrikaner expats in the USA expressed interest in going back to Africa to farm -- but they just didn't want to risk their families' lives in South Africa because they are being murdered there in large numbers.
From 1994 up to and including January 26 2009, a total of 3,034 white Afrikaner farmers, their family members and workers -- out of the 11,500
who still produce excess food for the nation of 47-million people -- have already been murdered in tens of thousands of attacks against their homesteads by heavily-armed gangs. The main feature of these 'farm-attack murders' is the high level of physical cruelty and sexual violence which is used against these families. Details here
: and here
placed a report about the official Congolese invitation they'd received in an Afrikaans Sunday paper and, De Jager said, were overwhelmed by enquiries.
He has also received a letter from the South African ambassador in the Congo who says the visa for the new farmers can be issued very quickly, as soon as February. Many Afrikaner farmers are eager to move because the agricultural community is being destroyed by the South African government's constant threats of land-confiscations and the dangerous working conditions in which they now have to produce food.
Apparently, even the war-time conditions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo don't seem to deter their determination to leave South Africa as quickly as possible. Some 1,2-million young 'whites', mostly Afrikaans speaking, have already left the country since 1994 and can now be found in more than 46 countries, where they are building up new lives. South Africa only ever had 3-million Afrikaners.
A full ninety percent of the 450 farmers who want to move to the Congo have between fifteen to 30 years of farming experience on the continent, said Agri-SA. Many also still maintain excellent economic links to European import markets.
At the moment, the mineral-rich People's Democratic Republic of the Congo imports its food at huge cost from France and other countries off-continent.
The Congolese are particularly impressed by the low-cost food produced by the Afrikaner farmers - especially after their invitations to Chinese and Indian farmers had turned into disappointment.
Farming in the Congo is much more difficult than it is in South Africa - as any Belgian expat from the Congo can tell you. The infrastructure has not been developed since the Belgians left it during the fifties: and most areas are only accessible by plane. Many areas are also completely devoid of any people.
And the rainfall is the exact opposite of semi-arid South Africa's -- the Congo has about 1,500 mm annually, South Africa in most regions never gets more than 15mm.
The Congolese are particularly interested in livestock farmers, and producers of maize- soy and subtropical fruit, as well as coffee and tea for cash-crops.
There's a sturdy debate going on inside Agri-SA about this issue at the moment, De Jager said.
"The feeling is that we should not be exporting our few remaining farmers,' he said, - and added that he isn't interested in going himself. Original Afrikaans-language report here