About R2.5bn was made available to farmers last year as the country experienced a severe drought, says President Jacob Zuma.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address, President Zuma said on Thursday the funds were made available for the provision of livestock feed, water infrastructure, drilling, equipping and refurbishment of boreholes, auction sales and other interventions.
“Furthermore, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Land Bank availed funding of about R5 million to distressed farmers to manage their credit facilities and support with soft loans,” he said.
The President said farmers went through a difficult period last year because of the drought.
Government is committed to supporting black smallholder farmers.
“I received a memorandum from the African Farmers Association of South Africa who say the year 2017 must be the year of the commercialisation of the black small holder farmers.
“Indeed, government will implement a commercialisation support programme for 450 black smallholder farmers,” President Zuma said.
He encouraged more women to consider farming as a career.