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S/Africa: $847m shot in arm for farming, rural development

The South African government has allocated US$847 million to boost farming, land reforms and developing the country's rural areas during…

The South African government has allocated US$847 million to boost farming, land reforms and developing the country’s rural areas during the 2020/21 financial year, APA learnt on Wednesday.Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza told Parliament that these programmes were core to achieving outcomes in food security and economic transformation priorities through redressing and providing equitable access to producer support.

On land redistribution and tenure reforms, she said that land development support would be extended to 146 projects identified within the country’s land acquisition strategy.

According to the minister, other applications related to land support would only be considered in the 2021/22 financial year.

Due to the spread of Covid-19 and subsequent restrictions of the lockdown, Didiza said the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights is also facing challenges in terms of meeting claims, conducting research and verification, accessing claimants’ relevant documents, signing of settlement agreements, and concluding on offers.

“While these challenges are being mitigated, they are having an impact on the access to the ministry’s services and the agility of the ministry to deliver,” she said.

This was in apparent reference to a US$140-million cut made to her budget during the presentation in parliament, forcing her office to readjust in the funding of certain development programmes. 

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