KZNDARD MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi says KwaZulu-Natal’s government commitment to support more than 28 000 small-scale farmers with material support for a great harvest, in spite of COVID 19, is on track and even stronger with the introduction of new agricultural advisors and multi-purpose vehicles worth R3,3 million to the departments’ squadron.
Sithole Moloi said the first duty of these new 40 officers and 11 VW Caddy vehicles would be the verification process to ensure that more than 28000 farmers in KwaZulu-Natal’s register benefit from the R1 billion Presidential Economic Stimulus Package for subsistence producers before the beginning of the upcoming harvest during an event held DARD’s head office in Cedara.
“The President announced the employment stimulus to create and protect jobs and support livelihoods in vulnerable sectors like the agricultural sector which is impacted hugely and negatively by to Covid 19.
In KwaZulu Natal, we have 826 wards that are supported by our agricultural advisors and the advantage of these vehicles is that each one can deliver and pick-up up to seven officers at their appointments with farmers.
We expect them to hit the ground running, doing all that is necessary to ensure that all 28 000 farmers who registered for the stimulus receive their funds before the start of the harvest,” Sithole-Moloi said.
She further said that rampant state vehicle theft has also necessitated the supplement in order to effectively provide an efficient and sustainable service to small-scale farmer’s agricultural whose operations are not only the backbone in terms of food security but are huge job creators, which in turn strengthens the economy.
“Our small scale farmers are all that stands between us and extreme poverty. Their agricultural yields are what we count on to bring a necessary reprieve from hunger and malnutrition gripping a great number of people in KwaZulu Natal.
In conclusion, Sithole-Moloi urged both farmers and DARD’s employees in general to continue to observe strictly the Covid 19 regulations while redoubling the efforts to beat hunger and malnutrition in KwaZulu-Natal.
For more information, kindly contact DARD Media Liaison Officer, Mr. Mack Makhathini on 076 965 5870.