South Africa announces $66 million relief program for subsistence farmers

South Africa’s government has announced a $66 million relief program for subsistence farmers, as it aims to revive the struggling agriculture industry hurt by COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.

Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza told reporters on Monday the program will provide successful applicants with as much as $593.1 each to help them tend their small scale farmers.

The program is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package for small-scale food producers.

Coronavirus disruptions have hit Africa’s most developed nation hard, and farmers lamented that they were left out of the government’s COVID recovery plan released in October.

South Africa is Africa’s worst hit nation by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 700,000 infections and 20,000 deaths recorded so far. The country has been in recession since March, as the government enforced one of the world’s strictest lockdowns and global demand for its exports declined.

The GDP fell by more than 17% in the second quarter, and over 2 million jobs were lost.

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