COVID-19: Livestock most requested from agriculture disaster fund, says Didiza

Government has set aside R1.2 billion for farmers struggling amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza at a briefing on 6 April 2020. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza on Sunday said of the more than 55,000 applications received from farmers to access the COVID-19 agricultural disaster fund, 15,000 had been approved so far.

Government has set aside R1.2 billion for farmers struggling amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Most applications were made by Eastern Cape farmers.

The department's Rirhandzu Shilote said: “We are looking for small farms with an annual turnover of between R20,00 and R1 million and these could be in communal areas or commercial farms. The maximum amount will be R50,000 per applicant. Some people will get less than that, depending on the size of their farming.”

She added that the department would finalise its decision on the remaining applications.

"To date, 15,036 applications have been approved, valued at just over R500 million in favour of smallholder and communal farmers. Of the 15,036 approved applications, 5,494 are women, 2,493 youth and 224 people living with disability and males at 9,542,” said the minister.

Speaking at a virtual briefing, Didiza said livestock had been the most requested commodity by farmers, followed by vegetables, poultry and fruits.

Among others, the department has noted the lack of proper documentation or filing of documents by farmers.

“It saddens me that during this process many of them fell by the wayside because they could not provide proof that they are farmers or farming. The registration of farmers on the Producer Farmer Register will enable government to locate farmers so that targeted support can be provided,” the Minister said.