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Tiger Brands backs 80 emerging farmers

| On the move

Tiger Brands has paid a total of R25 million to small farmers in the past seven years to promote agriculture across all nine provinces in the country by purchasing their agricultural produce.

The company yesterday identified the most sourced products were general vegetables and pork. Spokeswoman Nevashnee Naicker said it presently supported more than 80 emerging farmers across the country.

Naicker said the company procured about 23 000 tons of vegetables and fruit from small-scale farmers every year.

 “We have spent R25m up to now and this is expected to grow in the near future as new projects are approved in order to grow the programme,” Naicker said.

“The products are predominantly tomatoes, white beans, figs and butternuts. We also purchase pigs from an emerging farmer.”

It said it had partnered with the government to cushion the impact of the drought, which had forced some farms to close and others to slow down production. The impact of the drought, the worst in more than two decades, has been so far-reaching and severe that industry associations such as Agbiz and GrainSA have called on the government to declare a national disaster.

“The situation is so severe and our government must declare the drought a national disaster,” GrainSA chief executive David Frost said.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana said yesterday that the country had lost R16 billion so far to drought.

Zokwana said despite the loss, the government would not be declaring the drought a national disaster, insisting that in some cases the situation was improving as a result of intervention from the government and non-governmental organisations.

“What we have seen recently as we were doing estimates of crops that would tell us how much we will be able to import in terms of grains and the… estimate is we’ll be able to harvest 7.2 million tons and that would expose us to 1.8 million tons of white maize and 2.7 million tons of yellow maize imports,” Zokwana said.

Tiger Brands’ share price lost 1.45 percent to close trade at R305.49 on the JSE yesterday.

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