Over 2 000 KwaZulu-Natal small-scale farmers benefited from the R1.2bn Covid-19 Smallholder Farmer Disaster Relief Fund which was announced by Thoko Didiza, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform. The farmers received vouchers to help them get their businesses back on track after the impact of COVID-19.
Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, MEC for KZN Agriculture and Rural Development said the vouchers, not worth more than R50 000 each, would help farmers to buy essential inputs that will enable them to resume farming activities that contribute in the growth of the economy, creating job opportunities and ensure food and nutrition security in the province.
She said the sectors which would be prioritized for support, included poultry, livestock, fruit, winter field crops and vegetables, which are key to KZN’s fight against food and nutrition insecurity.
“We are pleased that this intervention came timeously during June, a month of great significance in the liberation struggle by our youth. We are also delighted that 500 youth enterprises will benefit from this relief package this month. This augurs well for agriculture in the province as it clearly indicates that our youth has woken up and is partaking in the economy through agriculture,” Sithole-Moloi said.
While handing over the vouchers to farmers in Howick, Sithole-Moloi assured that about R98 million worth of vouchers would benefit small-scale farmers. She added that while they are pleased that the majority of emerging farmers in the KZN have benefited from the relief fund, they are inviting those that were not successful to apply again at their nearest agriculture offices.