Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has invited all subsistence producers to apply for the Presidential Employment Stimulus initiative.
The initiative is aimed at sustaining and increasing employment in the agricultural sector.
Announcing the department’s interventions to support subsistence producers, at a media briefing held in Tshwane on Monday, Didiza said that the programme aims to assist households utilising land in their home backyards, gardens in communal areas, and producers who don’t earn any other income.
Didiza said subsistence producers will be supported with farming input vouchers to retain self-employment in the sector, while supporting food value chains.
“We’ve decided to target vulnerable individuals and groups, and aims to support 50% women, 40% youth and 6% persons with disabilities. Unemployed farm-dwellers and military veterans will also be prioritised for support through this initiative and are encouraged to apply,” Didiza said.
The Minister also noted that that the type and quantities of support provided will be limited to the commodity applied for and the size of the current operation physically verified on site. The amount of support will range between R1000 and R9000.
“We are targeting the smallest within the agricultural sector. During the implementation of this programme, the department will employ unemployed NARYSEC [National Rural Youth Service Corps] Youth and unemployed agricultural graduates to work as verification officers. The youth employment initiative will support the creation of jobs in excess of 6 000 temporary jobs,” she said.
The minimum qualifying criteria will include applicants who are 18 years old or older, have a South African ID, not employed by government, currently actively involved in agricultural production and not having received support from the department in the current financial year.
“Applicants are notified that only one application per household will be permitted. Specific targeted commodities that will be supported include vegetables, grains (maize and soybean), sugarcane, cotton, poultry and livestock,” the Minister said.
The application process will open from 10 December until 22 December 2020.
Applications can be made through cell phones using the departmental USSD code*134*4536#, irrespective of the cell phone network.
“This is a free application process and application forms will be accessible from your cell phone once you enter the USSD code. Application forms will be available in all 11 official languages.
“The department will take 150 applications by using the USSD system, and therefore, the principle of first come first serve will apply. The applicants will be notified on whether they’ve been successful or not within the second week of January 2021,” Didiza said.