Over 140 small-scale farmers in Mpumalanga receive long-awaited fertilizers from government

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Sugarcane farmers in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga, have welcomed fertilizers worth R43 million, as part of the government’s effort to assist small-scale farmers.

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza says, they are assisting farmers who are struggling to buy fertilizer and usual requirements due to a triple price increase as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war. Over 140 beneficiaries received their long-awaited fertilizers.

Under normal circumstances, sugarcane small-scale farmers keep enough money on a retention scheme to buy enough fertilizer for the season, but this year, their reserves were not enough and the government had to come in.

Farmers say this support will help them regain their losses. “Now my profit is going back to the sellers of the fertilizers, meaning my bottom line is gone, I don’t have any profit anymore.”

Farmers development of South Africa CEO, Siyabonga Madlala says the support they received from the government will help to curb the challenges faced by small-scale farmers.

“Today, marks a day where the government is showing responsive behavior where we are offering R 43 million worth of fertilizer, Minister Didiza is issuing a cheque and the fertilizer is here for the farmers to pick up, so we are excited as farmers because we had no hope as to how we going to fertilize our fields.”

Agriculture Minister says they will be working closely with relevant stakeholders to monitor in ensuring the fertilizers are being utilised according to every farmer’s benefits.

‘‘We work with the district municipalities, also provincial departments of agriculture and farmers’ associations and commodity groups, who work with farmers on daily basis in Nkomazi. We got the farmer’s production support unit which is part of the Agri parks Support programme, where we support farmers with production inputs with mechanisation, but also with pack houses. For instance, on the 3rd of January here in Nkomazi, we will be opening pack supporting farmers who are in vegetable farming. With some of the inputs as well, so this is the government’s programme that seeks to unleash economic activity in rural communities, particularly rural communities,” says Minister Didiza.

The Minister says the initiative will also benefit other farmers in other provinces, with Kwazulu-Natal being next.