This is a programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It aims to create jobs for communities by helping to establish SMMEs. In particular, it makes use of technologies which can add value to SMMEs and makes them accessible to communities. At the same time, the programme helps to make these SMMEs successful by offering skills development and training.
The DST offers technological assistance in the following areas:
- Aquaculture: Communities are trained to farm indigenous fish as a business. They receive technology in terms of infrastructure (production cages) and training to manage a fish farm, including diseases and harvesting.
- Essential oils: These are valuable oils that are extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants. Communities benefit from skills development and training, and their businesses are linked to the local essential oils market.
- Indigenous medicinal plants: Communities are taught to grow indigenous herbs commercially. These plants have special medicinal properties which have been scientifically proven. Communities receive training in farming methods and in how to start a commercial enterprise and their businesses are linked to local markets.
The DST does not support individuals, only communities and community groups. These communities are then helped to form a viable community business, in the form of a Section 21 Company or cooperative. In order to use these technologies and produce valuable crops in essential oils and indigenous medicinal plants, communities need to have access to suitable agricultural land. Similarly, communities that want to benefit from fish farming must have access to irrigation dams.
Contact the DST Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods: 012 843-6421/18