On April 6 2020, the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Minister Didiza, announced a R1,2 billion COVID-19 disaster relief fund for small-scale farmers with an annual turnover of between R20,000 and R1 million per annum. This is a recognition of the crucial contribution of rural, urban and peri-urban small-scale farmers to local food supplies, and why they need agricultural inputs. The COVID-19 crisis comes on top of an extended and long-term drought in many regions of the country, which has severely compromised small-scale farmer production and who are in desperate need of a kick-start to stimulate production, as well as small livestock farmers, especially in drought-stricken areas, who need to be supported to keep their livestock alive. The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) behind this submission thus all welcome the Minister’s recognition of the need for relief and a number of them have been attempting to assist farmers to apply for the measures.

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