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Smallholder livestock farmers to be included in Covid-19 relief fund

The National Emergent Redmeat Producers Organisation (Nerpo) has expressed its concern about the failure of the government to effectively address the plight of the small business in South Africa, particularly, the smallholder livestock farmers.
Smallholder livestock farmers to be included in Covid-19 relief fund
©belikova via 123RF

This followed the numerous unsuccessful attempts to apply for the Covid-19 relief funds, which was introduced by President Ramaphosa on the 23 of April 2020, during the announcement of the initial 21 days lockdown.

South Africans have been donating time and money to fight against the pandemic and this includes pledges of a billion rand or more from a number of prominent business families and companies to help SMMEs

Aggrey Mahanjana, group managing director of Nerpo has compared the treatment of the SMMEs to the popular concept of a missing middle student in the educational sector. Missing middle are those students that are too poor to afford universities, but also not poor enough to qualify government funding.

"We were extremely excited when the government introduced all the necessary intervention to support the small businesses, especially within the farming sector, through Covid-19 Relief Fund, as well as the Covid-19 Agricultural Disaster Support Fund.

"However, we were disappointed and shocked that we did not qualify either of the two relief funds simply because we are a missing middle farmer. In one of the Relief Funds the threshold is low, meanwhile, the other relief fund, the threshold is higher."

"Our farmers feel that the government is paying the lip service to the plight of the poor in South Africa. An urgent NERPO general council meeting is going to take place within two weeks to deliberate on these pressing issues," he concluded.

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