Government has a range of policies and programmes aimed at ensuring that women and youth in particular participate in growing the economy. They include:
- AgriBEE Fund aims to promote the entry and participation of the previously marginalised groups, including black women and youth, in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries value chains, through provision of funding for equity deals, acquisition of interests in agriculture, forestry and fisheries entities and enterprise development. A total of 3 750 beneficiaries were supported and 2 240 women benefitted through the AgriBEE Fund.
- Micro Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa (MAFISA) is a financial scheme that aims to address the financial services needs of the smallholder farmers and agribusinesses. MAFISA provides capital (loans) of not more than R500 000 per person to enhance agricultural activities through the purchase of production inputs (fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, animal feed and remedies) and small equipment and implements. A total of 7 100 women were supported from March 2009 to date, which is 36.6 per cent of the total beneficiaries. The enterprises funded are sugar at 60 per cent, 6.3 per cent livestock, 0.1 per cent grapes and the balance is divided into various crops including grain, vegetables and citrus.
- DAFF Career Awareness Programme focuses on promotion of agriculture, forestry and fisheries as careers and livelihoods of choice, particularly among school-going youth, to build a skills base in agriculture, forestry and fisheries careers, specifically within the identified scarce and critical skills. DAFF enters into formal agreements with schools from disadvantaged rural communities which are identified and adopted based on their academic performance. The programme ensures that mathematics and physical science learners from these schools are given information on careers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. DAFF high school bursaries are awarded to nominated learners from the schools and an undergraduate bursary is guaranteed for the beneficiaries upon completion of Grade 12 on condition that they enrol to further their studies in one of the identified scarce and critical skills. Since 2004 a total of 277 learners were supported and 144 female learners benefitted from the high school bursaries of DAFF.
- DAFF also has an external bursary scheme that recruits young people from previously disadvantaged and rural communities with good symbols in mathematics and physical science to be recipients of DAFF bursaries to further their studies in one of the identified scarce and critical skills in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This External Bursary Scheme has, since 2004, funded a total of 1 002 students and 574 young deserving female students benefitted.
- The Internship and Young Professional Development Programme combats unemployment by placing young graduates with requisite skills in functional units and place others with commodity organisations for practical exposure. Since inception, 1 165 young women have benefitted from the programme. Of these, 347 are employed by DAFF.
- The Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) is aimed at providing post settlement support to the targeted beneficiaries of land reform and to other producers who have acquired land through private means and are, for example, engaged in value-adding enterprises domestically or involved in export. The CASP framework pronounces that 70 per cent of the CASP infrastructure grants should be allocated to food production initiatives (crop and livestock production). The programme has supported 473 542 beneficiaries and women accounted for 42 per cent.
- The LandCare Programme, under the Expanded Public Works Programme, participates within the land-based livelihoods category of the Environment and Culture sector. The programme deploys labour-intensive mechanisms within its project implementation under the SoilCare, VeldCare and WaterCare themes.