PESI second phase: How to get that dough

Applications for a second phase of PESI grants have been opened by agriculture minister Thoko Didiza on Tuesday. Subsistence farmers have until 14 December 2021 to apply, and application forms are accessible via cell phone

The minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, announced the opening of a second round of applications for the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative (PESI) grants. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

The minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, announced the opening of a second round of applications for the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative (PESI) grants. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

The second phase of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative (PESI) for subsistence producers has officially been opened by the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD), Thoko Didiza.

From today (30 November 2021) until 14 December 2021, subsistence producers are invited to submit their application for financial support ranging between R1 000 and R12 000.

The PESI programme aims to address unemployment and to help sustain self-employment for subsistence producers.

In the second phase, government hopes to help no fewer than 50 000 subsistence producers. This figure is over and above the 88 251 subsistence producers currently approved for support. Of these, 51 559 subsistence producers were supported during the first phase of PESI, and 36 692 subsistence producers received Solidarity Fund support, according to the departmen.

Target audience

According to department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo, the support is aimed at vulnerable individuals and groups, of whom 50% will be women, 40% young people and 6% people with disabilities.

“Child-headed households, farm dwellers, farmworkers and military veterans will also be prioritised for support through this initiative and are encouraged to apply,” Ngcobo said.

“Subsistence producers 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.”

Meanwhile, group applicants are encouraged to approach their local department offices for registration. An extension staff member will confirm farming activities of these group community applications.

“Consideration of group applicants under a village will have a farming area-based funding, as these will be supported by business profiles. These allocations could be higher than the earmarked R12 000,” Ngcobo pointed out.

Minimum qualifying criteria

The following criteria have to be met in order for applications to be considered:

Applicants should note that only one application per household will be permitted and processed. Specific targeted commodities that will be supported include vegetables, grains (maize and soybean), sugarcane, cotton, poultry and livestock. 

How to apply

The implementation of the second phase coincides with the recruitment and employment of 5 000 extension officers who are expected to further facilitate successful implementation of the project.

They will work closely with over 1 000 already appointed National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) and unemployed youth who are working on first-phase PESI-selected subsistence producers.

Subsistence farmers are invited to submit their applications through the USSD Code *134*4536#, which will be active from today. The code, the department says, works irrespective of the cell phone network.

This is a free application process and application forms will be accessible from your cell phone once the USSD code has been entered. The principle of first come, first served will apply per province.

The department emphasises that all subsistence producers who had applied during the 2020 phase, as well as the recipients of the Solidarity Fund support, do not need to apply as they have been prioritised for the second phase of PESI support.

ALSO READ: Govt. warns farmers to be wary of PESI scammers

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