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Government relief for small-scale farmers on land of one hectare or less

07 December 2020 - 14:34 By andisiwe makinana
A goatherd and his group of grazers. Small-scale farmers stand to benefit from R1bn set aside to assist more than 75,000 farmers disrupted by Covid-19. File image.
A goatherd and his group of grazers. Small-scale farmers stand to benefit from R1bn set aside to assist more than 75,000 farmers disrupted by Covid-19. File image.
Image: Alaister Russell

Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza has announced a support package for small-scale farmers via the presidential stimulus package.

Didiza said R1bn had been set aside to assist more than 75,000 subsistence farmers whose production was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The subsistence producers will be supported with farming input vouchers ranging between R1,000 and R9,000 to help retain self-employment in the sector, while supporting food value chains.

“It is appreciated that while the agricultural sector was negatively impacted upon, the subsistence producers and household producers remain the most affected,” said Didiza on Monday.

“These are producers who utilise land in the back yards of their homes, gardens in communal areas, all of which are more or less the size of a soccer field,” she added.

It is these producers who create a bulwark against the fight of food insecurity at household level,” she said.

As part of the employment stimulus, government was supporting these producers who do not earn any other income, whose small patches of land remain their source of employment and livelihoods, said Didiza.

“Currently our agricultural policies do not address their needs adequately. It is these producers who may be defined as unbankable by our financial sector, and yet their role is important in providing food security for many families in our country,” she said.

She said most of these producers were women, and therefore the government had decided to target 50% of women to be beneficiaries in this intervention; 40% will be youth and 6% will target people with disabilities and unemployed military veterans.

How to apply

Applications for the small-farmer support will open on December 10 and close on December 22.

Applications will be done via cellphone, by dialling *134*4536#

The application process was free and application forms would be accessible once an applicant entered the USSD code, she said.

Didiza said application forms would be available in all 11 official languages.

Applicants need to:

  • be 18 years old or older;
  • have a South African ID;
  • not be employed by the government;
  • be actively involved in agricultural production; 
  • not have received support from the department in the current financial year; and
  • be working on land that is one hectare or less.

Only one application per household will be permitted.

Didiza said specific targeted commodities to be supported would take into consideration the agricultural calendar, in line with the commodities produced in the season, including livestock.

She said the type and quantities of support provided would be limited to the commodity applied for and the size of the operation physically verified on site.

Successful applicants will be notified in January.