package small-scale farmers

Image via: @DALRRDgov_ZA / Twitter

Didiza announces R1 billion relief for small-scale farmers

While the agricultural sector was negatively impacted by COVID-19, the subsistence farmers and household producers remain the most affected.

package small-scale farmers

Image via: @DALRRDgov_ZA / Twitter

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza, announced on Monday 7 December 2020, that there would be a R1 billion support package available to small-scale farmers. 

On 15 October 2020, President Ramaphosa tabled the Economic Recovery Plan where he said the employment stimulus includes direct support for livelihoods and the protection of jobs in vulnerable sectors.

In this context, R1 billion rand was allocated in order to support 75 000 small-scale farmers whose production was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Didiza said that while the agricultural sector was negatively impacted, the subsistence producers and household producers remained the most affected. 


Didiza said the subsistence and household farmers are the producers who utilize 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. 

“It is these producers who create a bulwark against the fight of food insecurity at household level. These are producers who do not earn any other income, but these small patches of land remain their source of employment and livelihoods,” she said. 

“It is them that 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 added. 

As part of the employment stimulus, these are the producers government will support. 

“We have decided to target 50% of women to be beneficiaries in this intervention. 40% of these will be youth and 6% will target people with disabilities and unemployed military veterans,” she said. 


The Presidential Stimulus Package for subsistence producers is aimed at sustaining and increasing employment in the agricultural sector. In excess of 75 000 subsistence farmers will be supported with farming input vouchers, to retain self-employment in the sector, while supporting food value chains.

“During the implementation of this programme, the department will employ unemployed Narysec Youth and unemployed Agricultural Graduates to work as verification officers. This youth employment initiative will support the creation of jobs in excess of 6 000 temporary jobs,” she added. 


According to Didiza, applications will be done through a USSD code. The number is *134*4536#

“This is a free application process and application forms will be accessible from your cell phone once you enter the USSD code. The Department will take 150 000 applications by using the USSD system. The principle of first come first serve per province will apply,” she added. 

The following minimum qualifying criteria will apply: 

  • Applicants should be 18-years-old or older; 
  • Should have a South African ID; 
  • Should not be employed by government; 
  • Should currently be involved in agricultural production; and 
  • Should not have received DALRRD support in the current financial year. 

Subsistence farmers must note 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 R1 000 and R9 000.  

The date for opening up for the applications will be 10 December 2020 and will close on 22 December 2020 and applicants will receive notices in January 2021. 

“It is our hope that this intervention will ensure that we retain employment of these producers and offer opportunities for employment to unemployed NARYSEC graduates and unemployed Agriculture Graduates,” added Didiza.