He writes as follows:
I refer to the article Subdivision of agricultural land by Alan West on the 14th of July.
The protection of viable production capacity in the agricultural sector is obviously the rationale behind the act. However the legislation poses serious commercial difficulties. There will always be transactions where a landowner wants to sell to a willing buyer a portion of agricultural land SUBJECT to the condition that the required consent is obtained..
In view of the provisions under discussion, such sale will be void, as stated by Mr West. The need for transactions of this kind in commerce is evident, so parties now have to resort to artificial constructions such as an offer to sell the portion, alternatively an option, irrevocable in each case, for a period of (say) 30 days after the consent has been given.
This however poses the risk that a party could avoid the ultimate intended sale by taking the point that this was a simulated transaction, aimed at avoiding the provisions of the Act, and therefore is void as if it was a conditional sale.
I suggest that the act be amended to allow a sale of an undivided portion of agricultural land that is subject to the Minister's consent. This will bring the legislation in line with reality, without any negative effect on the main objective of the legislature as mentioned above.
Agricultural land covers a wide spectrum. In many cases there are units that have been overtaken by urban sprawl and they have become anything but farms. These also are still subject to the Act. Often the purpose for which the still undivided portion is purchased is unrelated to agriculture (e.g. a factory or recreational facility) for which rezoning is necessary
Applications of this kind, particularly when rezoning is involved, are notoriously expensive in some cases and it is desirable that the risks associated with the present practice be eliminated.