Need for agriculture subsidies recognised

Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Zoleka Capa said it was becoming increasingly evident that farmers needed government subsidies to offset escalating operating costs.

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Speaking at the Farmers Carnival at the Bisho Showgrounds recently, she said this was because “the higher the electricity and other costs, the less farmers can afford.” Capa said the issue of subsidising commercial farmers would be taken to the portfolio committee. The next stage will involve discussions with commercial farmers aimed at reaching a consensus on how subsidies should be implemented.

Consulting commercial farmers on the issue was important as government recognised its contribution to the GDP and no distinct model for subsidising farmers existed at the moment, said Capa. She also said a subsidy model worth considering was the percentage-based system employed by Indonesia’s government, which made provision for a number of different kinds of subsidies for farmers on a number of different issues.

The question of subsidies for farmers was recently raised by Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet while in Indonesia, said Capa.
That country has “a particular percentage system to subsidise farmers that includes electricity, among many other things,” explained Capa.

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