By Adriana Randall MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC on Finance:
Indigent families of Cullinan, Rayton, Refilwe and surrounding areas in Tshwane bear the brunt due to the lack of political will to assist these communities with financial aid.
I therefore urge the MEC for Agriculture, Lebogang Maile, to direct drought relief funds to the small scale emerging farmers.
The drought has impacted small scale farmers more than commercial and with no assistance forthcoming from the government at this stage, jobs will be lost and farmers will be forced to stop their operations.
Cullinan and surrounds are well known for their Protea flowers, these flowers are exported to others countries and available to local flower shops, the drought has had a major impact on the industry.
What is of great concern is that the much talked about Tshwane Agro Processing Hub is still mostly just a pipe dream and for most of these small scale farmers it will be too little too late.
A total amount of R5.4m was budgeted over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. In 2015/16, R1.7 million will be made available for a feasibility study and business plan, and 2016/17 R1.8million to commence with the project implementation plan.
These plans are more of the same, these papers won’t feed families nor restore the dignity of the community.
The DA together with the communities of Cullinan, Rayton, Refilwe and surrounds have started our own community forum to address the challenges many small scale farmers face.
MEC Maile must meet with the community forum, hear their plight and monetarily assist these communities.
The DA will not stand by and see jobs being shed and the livelihoods of farmers seen degrading. The buck stops with the MEC and he must address this matter as soon as possible.