Govt unveils R1.2bn fund to help small-scale farmers

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Commercial farmers say land redistribution should not interfere with food security, calling for  a controlled and legal process.
Commercial farmers say land redistribution should not interfere with food security, calling for a controlled and legal process.

Financially distressed small-scale farmers who have an annual turnover of between R20 000 and R1 million will from Wednesday be able to apply for financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to keep their businesses operational during the coronavirus pandemic.

The applications will close on Wednesday 22 April.

Briefing the media on her department's plans on Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, described the R1.2 billion in funding as an "intervention package".

Vouchers, not cash

The funds will be distributed via vouchers, not cash. Successful applicants will be able to exchange these vouchers for goods at certain retailers and cooperatives.

Not all small-scale farmers will qualify for the grant, said Didiza. It applies mainly to farmers needing aid with poultry farming, fruit, feed and medication for livestock, and seedlings and fertiliser for winter crops, among some other categories. Other commodity sectors will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Didiza said the grants would not cover commercial farmers. Commercial farmers that have loans with the land bank can apply to the bank's R100 million fund for assisting farmers in distress, she said.

"I know that other financial institutions have actually made some arrangements to assist those farmers and other businesses that are in distress during this period," she added.

  • Didiza said that application forms would be available from 8 April 8 on the department's website's at www.dalrrd.gov.za.
  • Application forms will also be available at national, provincial, district and local offices of both the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and Provincial Departments of Agriculture.
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