Emerging farmers in Thabine outside Tzaneen in Limpopo are complaining about the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative vouchers.

The scheme by the Department of Agriculture gives vouchers to emerging farmers to buy material they need for farming from identified suppliers.

The programme is aimed at increasing employment in the agricultural sector.

One of the farmers says the suppliers that are listed as service providers do not have farming material required by farmers.

He says some suppliers also buy from other suppliers and increase prices to make profit.

The farmer says they sometimes spend the vouchers on items they do not need, as suppliers do not always have the required stock.

“All the products that we need are not in the list of the suppliers that we are we have been given so it ends up not serving a purpose because at the end of the day. If we don’t get the product that we need but then we have the amount of money that we are having, it means that you will just take anything that is in the shop and that is not going to serve even to help you , and on our the process of farming we kindly asking the Department of Agriculture to engage with us.”

The Department of Agriculture says it is aware of complaints about the vouchers.

Department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo says beneficiaries must report their challenges to the department.

Ngcobo says, “Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development has been made aware of the allegations levelled against some of our suppliers that they over charge farmers for collecting inputs. On their behalf we urge our farmers to go and report this to the nearest office of the Department of Agriculture and put the names and give the names of this suppliers. We urge our farmers  to continue to be vigilant and report any misbehaviour from suppliers Department will launch an investigation.”

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