The Guard

The Truth On Board


By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – Solidarity Fund and the department of agriculture have extended a helping hand to small farmers in the poverty-stricken rural Eastern Free State, whose plight has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The beneficiaries have received a R2000 voucher from Solidarity Fund to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19. They were selected by the department of agriculture and rural development in collaboration with the department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Out of 821 eligible farmers who received a R2000 voucher each, 780 are from Thabo Mofutsanyana district, and the majority are women.

During an assessment visit to the beneficiaries in Thabo Mofutsanyana district on Monday, Solidarity Fund alongside the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development engaged with the beneficiaries in a bid to find out if the initiative has served its purpose.

The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to both the Solidarity Fund and department of Agriculture for extending a helping hand during this dire situation which has been fuelled by Covid-19.

One of the beneficiaries, Sarah Sibilwane of Lejwaneng in the eastern Free State says she used her voucher to purchase a hose pipe, seeds, a spade and a wheelbarrow.

Thabo Mofutsanyana district farmer Rebecca Motaung.

“I have grown more vegetable which I eat and sell to my neighbours; with the money I make, I buy other household necessities,” said the sickly vegetable farmer.

Another farmer, Rebecca from Kholokweng , said the equipment she purchased with the voucher has boosted her farming and, as a result, she is able to provide food for her family. Her chances of contracting Covid-19 have minimised as she does not frequent crowded places.

“They have helped a lot. I spend much of my time at home eating fresh and healthy food. I also generate income from selling the vegetables.”

The department is working with Solidarity Fund and traditional councils on interventions that focus on communal farming areas, to support small-scale and subsistence farmers to promote self-employment and support food security.

Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform Thoko Didiza said the department, working with the Land Bank, had commenced with relief funding applications for commercial farmers who are in distress, to save jobs and provide relief.