Land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti warned the land might be repossessed if the farms continued to fail. Almost 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq miles) have been redistributed under policies aimed at benefiting black people who were left impoverished by apartheid. The land was bought from white farmers who sold up voluntarily. The government had set a target of 2014 to redistribute one-third of white-owned land back to the black majority. But Nkwinti acknowledged that the deadline would not be kept. He said the focus would now shift to helping the black farmers make their land productive. Land reform is a sensitive issue in South Africa and has been brought into sharp focus by the decline of agriculture in neighboring Zimbabwe, where many white commercial farmers have been violently evicted.
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