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South Africa earmarks $64 million for small-scale farmers as lockdown continues

07 April 2020

South Africa has agreed to set aside 1.2 billion rand ($64 million) to assist small-scale farmers and support food production as a nationwide lockdown stretches on.

According to reporting from Reuters, South Africa has the highest number of coronavirus cases in sub-Saharan Africa. It has reported 1,500 infections and 9 deaths to date, and now faces an economic recession which could impact vulnerable farmers.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said it would focus the funds on poultry, other livestock and vegetables but would evaluate applications on a case by case basis.

"The department has ring-fenced 1.2 billion rand for assistance to mainly target financially distressed small-scale farmers," Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, said on Monday.

South Africa's agricultural industry has both commercial producers and small-scale farmers, which often supply food and employment in their communities and are critical to ensure food security.

Farmers who qualify for assistance need to have South African citizenship, be active in farming for a minimum of 12 months and be on the farmers’ registry.

South Africa’s lockdown began at midnight on 26 March and is expected to last for 21 days. People are restricted to their homes and most businesses have been shuttered.

Read more about this story here.


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