Vusi Shongwe wants extension of farmers relief fund deadline

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HANDS ON: Agriculture MEC Vusi Shongwe will speak to national agriculture minister Thoko Didiza to extend the deadline for distressed farmers to apply for government relief funding amid the devastating Covid-19 lockdown. PICTURE BY Mpumalanga News

He said he had heard that a lot of farmers, especially small scale farmers, got the news late and the strict deadline was a bit unfair to them.


Mpumalanga agriculture MEC Vusi Shongwe has called for the deadline for farmers applying for the relief fund to be extended to allow more and more farmers to file for relief.

He spoke at Ermelo’s regional agricultural office Monday 20 March 2020 where his department was briefing the province on progress made so far with regard to applications for agricultural support, relief fund and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the farming community. He also gave an update on donations the department continues to make to fight hunger among poor communities.

ALSO SEE: Vusi Shongwe visits farms to inspect whether there is Covid-19 safety rules compliance

“The information at our disposal is that most farmers, especially small scale farmers have delayed to submit their forms because they have been struggling with some requirements like getting certified copies of their IDs and their accounts from banks,” the MEC said.

He said he was considering speaking to minister Thoko Didiza to help out by extending the deadline.

“We know for a fact that most of them are struggling under the lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he said.

Vusi Shongwe wants extension of farmers relief fund deadline

The deadline for farmers to submit their applications is Wednesday 22 April 2020.

So far a total of 754 farmers have applied for reliefs from the department but the department says this number is little compared to the over 3000 farmers they expected to apply. 

The department said this could mean that the other farmers are struggling to have their forms sent through because of the lockdown as internet cafes were they can print copies of required documents are closed and other factors.

“Some farmers do not have supporting documents to prove annual turnover, and others are struggling to get the necessary documents due to lockdown,” said Shongwe.

“It is up to the Minister to decide, but I know that as government we have no intention of leaving anybody outside,” he said.

(edited by ZK)

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