Boer Farmers Heading to Georgia for New Life

Boer Farmers Heading to Georgia for New Life
Poti Town Georgia

South Africa and Georgia have little in common aside from a tradition of wine-making and a turbulent recent history. But a group of white South African farmers say starting a new life in the former Soviet state could be the solution to their troubles at home.

South Africa’s 40,000 white farmers, mainly Boers – descendants from Dutch settlers – say they fear that South Africa’s government is threatening their livelihoods with land-reform policies. When they first came to Africa, the Boer Voortrekkers, or pioneers, left coastal colonies to forge a path to the interior of the country in search of fertile land.

Now some of their descendants believe the answer to their problems might lie thousands of miles away in the Caucasus.

In what would be an extraordinary migration, the Georgian government has invited South Africa’s farmers to buy up land in the country for next to nothing in exchange for bringing their expertise and knowledge of modern farming methods.

For many of the Boer farmers, whose ancestors settled in southern Africa 200 years ago, it would be tough to leave their ancestral homeland. But they say their lives are getting harder every month, citing fears of crime, violence, labour costs and land reform.

Piet Kemp, who is keen to emigrate, said: “We will start with 10 or 20 farmers, but I think there could be more than 1,000 farmers who could make a good life in Georgia.”…

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photo credit: Alexander Abuladze via photopin cc

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