A group of farmers who belong to farm the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU SA) says it will not be able to afford a salary increase for its workers to be in line with the National Minimum Wage recommendation.

The recommendation is that workers’ wages are supposed to increase to R 21, 69c an hour this year, but the union say farmers can’t afford that.

Currently workers get R220 a day.

TAU SA’s Chairperson, Jannie Roux says the national minimum wage should be scrapped in the sector.

Roux says, “Most of them are seasonal workers and the problem we have in agriculture, is that we have to accept the price of products we get in the markets. We can’t put our own price, and with this 16% increase, it’s going to cause a lot of people to lose their jobs.”

Heavy rains

Last week, several farmers in the Bultfontein and Hoopstad areas in the Free State say recent rains have washed away their crops and caused extensive damage to roads.

Rain fell across the Free State last week.

Farmers are hoping the showers will cease, allowing them to plant sunflowers before February.

In the video below, they say delays in planting could affect the quality of the crop:

Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative

In December, the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Department allocated R1-billion to support subsistence farmers through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative.

About 75 000 small scale farmers are expected to benefit from the initiative with farming input vouchers ranging from R1 000 to R9 000. This, in a bid to assist those farmers whose production was disrupted due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative targets 50% of women, 40% of youth with 6% targeting people with disabilities and unemployed military veterans.

In the video below, Minister Thoko Didiza announces PESP implementation: