30 OCT 2020
“The department will ensure the retention of jobs through self-employment by subsistence farmers through input vouchers.
“The target will be those subsistence producers who are producing at household level in peri-urban and rural areas with a maximum land size between a quarter to one hectare,” she said.
This was built from the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic had illustrated the importance of both commercial and smallholder producers in safeguarding food security and promoting self-employment in rural and peri-urban areas.
Covid-19 regulations, which led to the country being put on lockdown alert level 5 by the end of March, demonstrated the significance of a supportive policy environment as these regulations provided crucial insulation and boosted the resilience of the food system.
The Minister said the regulations showed the centrality of the informal market traders in localising and distributing food to low income households that live hand-to-mouth on a daily basis.
“Working with social partners, the department is working with the Solidarity Fund initiative and traditional councils on interventions that focus on communal farming areas to support small-scale and substance farmers to promote self-employment and support food security,” she said.
Didiza said the department, working with the Land Bank, had commenced with relief funding applications for commercial farmers that are in distress to save jobs and provide relief.
“The department is upscaling eight production schemes to expand commercial production and processing using a district-based commodity value chain development approach, which will stimulate mass employment.”
Didiza said, meanwhile, that the department of agriculture, working with security and social clusters, is developing a regulatory framework to enable commercial cultivation of hemp and cannabis by next year.
As part of implementing an effective land reform programme and inclusive growth, the department has developed a beneficiary selection and land allocation policy as well as the comprehensive producer support policy, which are guiding the rapid release of land for production of food and the provision of finances to farmers.