TLU SA said farmers could sell their agricultural produce on the Plaasvars e-Market digital selling and buying platform, which allowed them to speak directly to consumers.
AGRICULTURAL union TLU South Africa said on Thursday it had launched an e-market to connect farmers and consumers in the face of restrictions necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have seen the need for a platform where farmers can get in contact with consumers directly,” TLU SA president Louis Meintjes said in a statement. “In this way, they can continue to make a living during challenging times.”
Most South African business activity has ground to a halt after the goverment effected a lockdown from March 27 which allows only essential services to operate as it tries to limit the spread of the coronavirus wreaking havoc across the world.
Initially set for a 21-day period which would have ended at midnight yesterday, South Africa’s government extended the national shutdown by another two weeks to the end of April.
TLU SA said on Thursday farmers could sell their agricultural produce on the Plaasvars e-Market digital selling and buying platform, which allowed them to speak directly to consumers.
Through the portal, a farmer can load information on their available products, with accompanying photographs. Interested consumers select the commodities they are interested in, and the two parties then interact directly to complete the transaction.
Earlier this month, TLU SA said the government was unfairly overlooking commercial farmers, after the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said it had allocated R1.2 billion in aid for small-scale producers with an annual turnover of between R50 000 and R1 million.
Meintjes said at the time there were no incentives for commercial farmers to continue producing in spite of the risk of exposure to the coronavirus and “despite the vital role they play in producing food, in so doing preventing food shortages and subsequent anarchy”.
“No support during droughts. No help during disasters like Covid-19. No support when bank loans get too high to pay off.
“Small-scale farmers – who produce less than two percent of agricultural products and employ only six percent of workers – get lifeline after lifeline. Big farmers can absorb disasters easier because of government contracts and financial prosperity. But, the impact when these farmers fail, is also so much bigger,” he added.
– African News Agency