As poverty levels rise in parts of the country due to the national lockdown, the South African Farmers Development Association (SAFDA) has stepped in to assist poverty-stricken families.

The association has donated food parcels to Masibekela, near the border between South Africa and Eswatini.

Some of the beneficiaries have welcomed the gesture.

“I’m so happy for the food parcel I received. We will able to cook and eat. I don’t know when you are going bring again because the situation is very bad. We are unable to go out to try and get something. Normally we are able go to the farms to buy vegetables and sell around the communities, so now we can’t and we have nothing to eat.”

SAFDA donated the food parcels to the communities of Masibekela in partnership with the provincial Finance Department.

“Indeed it is sad back for our farmers who have recently benefited from the fertile project that we supplied this year (2020). The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform supplied us with fertiliser and the farmers were expecting a bumper crop. Now they being affected by the theft and we have applied to the department to get some more assistant fertiliser again this season, but what we are doing today we are supplying what we call food parcels in partnership with the department Economic Development, Tourism and Finance led by MEC Pat Ngomane,” said SAFDA chairperson, Siyabonga Madlala.

Mpumalanga Economic Development MEC, Pat Ngomane, says the food relief programme is aimed at assisting the families during the national lockdown. He says the majority of residents have no source of income because their workplaces have been closed.

“Our people, specifically those who were feeding themselves informal traders, they were depending on what they were doing for them to feed themselves so if there’s this lockdown, they don’t get anything. So we invited all people who are prepared to assist government to assist us to get some food to get whatever relief which they can afford.”

SAFDA’s food donation programme is expected to be rolled out to other provinces.

The association has on the other hand condemned the theft of sugarcane from farms in the Nkomazi region. Residents allegedly steal the cane to manufacture homemade beer.

Small-scale farmers have been raising concerns about the increase of sugarcane theft since the beginning of the national lockdown.

In the video below, SAFDA donates food parcels to Nkomazi families and condemns the theft of sugarcanes: