The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has allocated R1-billion to support 75 000 small-scale farmers around the country whose production was affected by Covid-19.

Minister Thoko Didiza made the announcement at a press briefing on 7 December, saying, “These are producers who utilize the land in the backyards of their homes, gardens in communal areas, all of which are more or less the size of a soccer field.”

Subsistence producers will be supported through vouchers. “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 R1 000 and R9 000,” the Minister said.

Applicants should be 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 in the current financial year from the department. Applications will be done virtually. Those interested should dial *134*4536# from their mobile devices. This number is the same across all cell phone networks and is a free application process. Applications will be open from 10 December to 22 December.

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 support will target vulnerable individuals and groups, and aims to support 50% women, 40% youth and 6% persons with disabilities. Child-headed households, farm-dwellers, farm-workers and military veterans will also be prioritised for support through this initiative and are encouraged to apply.

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