n Farmer’s Weekly - Drought-stricken agriculture sector needs more help! : by invitation

Volume 2016, Issue 16015
  • ISSN : 0041-848X



This year's budget speech was particularly interesting for me as I was in a workshop with farmers at the time, and the budget gave me the opportunity to relay to them - in layman's terms - what they could expect from government. In conversations with these farmers, their serious concern for the state of our economy struck me deeply, particularly because, for many of them, and for many other farmers in South Africa, the financial assistance offered by government could make or break their agricultural businesses in coping with the detrimental effects of the current drought. In the morning leading up to the budget speech, I was upbeat that there might be significant increases in allocation for agricultural financial institutions, such 6 farmer's weekly 22 April 2016 as the Land Bank, to assist farmers during this challenging time. This turned out to be a semi-fulfilled wish. The opening of Minister Pravin Gordhan's speech sounded encouraging and pragmatic, suggesting that the nation must be frank about the way in which to address the challenges of the day, the drought being one of them. His speech offered some glimpse of hope for the agricultural sector through the allocation of R15 billion over the next three years via the Land Bank concessionary loan facility to assist farmers in recovering from the impact of the drought. The key concern is whether all climatically-affected farmers will be able to access enough of this finance.

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