The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development has issued yet another warning to farmers to be wary of scammers parading as government officials. Scammers are now promising to fast-track farmers’ Covid-19 relief fund applications to swindle them out of money.
According to Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for the department, unscrupulous and faceless people have been defrauding unsuspecting farmers.
“These faceless people are calling farmers and sending text messages requesting an amount of R2 000 as an upfront payment, promising to fast-track their Covid-19 relief fund applications,” Ngcobo said.
The department added that it had been receiving complaints from farmers in various provinces about text messages, urging them to deposit money to a certain Capitec account.
The text message, accompanied by banking details, reads, “We see that last year you have applied for Agricultural Covid-19 fund of R50 000. We want to process it fast so can you send R2 000 so we can process it before December?”
Think twice and think again
Ngcobo appealed to all farmers to be careful and suspicious of activities that may be coordinated by fraudsters.
“Farmers and members of the public must know that they do not have to pay for any government service, especially agricultural relief funding, which is meant to mitigate the impact of Covid-19,” he said.
The department has finalised the adjudication of all applications received from farmers and the process is now closed. Ngcobo said farmers who were either successful or unsuccessful have been notified via SMS.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.