June 10, 2004

Government supports poor farmers

Government is to spend R72 million this financial year to provide support to poor black farmers and communities around the country. Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza made the announcement during a policy debate on her department's budget vote in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). She said the project formed part of the Expanded Public Works Programme, an initiative to create work opportunities for poor communities. "We have committed R72 million which is targeted at closing dongas, clearing bush encroachment and introducing new water harvesting technologies to support poor black farmers," she said. According to her, the priority areas would be those within rural development nodes such as Sterkspruit and Nongoma. The pilot project is intended to develop resources-poor farmers in rural communities. The minister also mentioned that 39 scientists would be trained by the end of this year in research for development methods to assist poor farmers. (Bua News, Pretoria)

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