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Concerning Decrease in Agriculture Jobs in South Africa

28 February 2018
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Concerning Decrease in Agriculture Jobs in South Africa

Why do we need employment? The answer is simple, living in today's economy is shockingly expensive. We need funds to sustain ourselves, as well as our families. Recently, South Africans witnessed the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and were surprised at the fact that VAT is increasing to 15 percent, which is just a glimpse into our countries financial future.

Unemployment Rate

This year, there has seen an 8% decrease in Agricultural jobs. Although there was a slight increase in agriculture jobs in 2017, it also recorded the second-highest jobs lost on a year to year basis.

Statistics

According to Statistics South Africa, its fourth-quarter labour survey stated that South Africa's unemployment rate had diminished by one percent to 26.7 percent, from the year 2016.

What does this mean exactly? Well, the result of this is 16.1 million people between ages 15-64 years old had become unemployed at the end of the year.

Agricultural Survey

The survey showed that 39 000 agriculture jobs were added in 2017. An employment increase of 4.8 percent and raised the total agriculture jobs to 849 000.

The department had shed 70 000 agriculture jobs in the year 2016, which indicated a decrease of nearly 8%. Between September and October 2016, there were over 900 000 agriculture jobs.

Agricultural Sector

The Agricultural sector placed second only to the construction industry, which shed more than 90 000 jobs.

Agriculture jobs faced the largest loss in regards to their percentage, but with construction work job losses marked at 6.2% year-on-year, when compared to the agriculture sectors 7.6% year-on-year decrease.

The Western Cape agricultural sector documented the largest total of year-on-year job losses with a tremendous amount of 57 000.

"Although the quarterly employment increase was encouraging, the year-on-year decline was cause for concern, especially in light of the forthcoming minimum wage changes, the persistent drought in the Western Cape and reduced amount of planting in the summer crop region," said Agbiz economist, Wandile Sihlobo.

Sihlobo confirmed that the minimum wage introduction was "fairly low" at a stage in regards to farm income, and could lead to a decrease in employment.

The effects would be unsatisfactory in specific sub-sectors that had high qualification requirements and are labour-intensive.
Sihlobo believes that horticulture would be more affected. "Unfortunately the sector is highly concentrated in the Eastern, Western and Northern regions where weather developments could further constrain farm income and thus impact the whole sectors labour market,"Sihlobo said.
It has also been stated that the fourth quarter employment increase in the sector has been mainly driven by the horticulture, livestock sub-sectors and field crop.

The government has declared a national disaster due to the severe drought in the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape.

Head of the national disaster management centre, Mmaphaka Tau stated that “a notice published in the Government Gazette on 13 February, showed that a decision had been made following a reassessment of the severity and "magnitude" of the ongoing drought in three provinces".

Another big question at this stage in South Africa’s political landscape is, will the stabilising economy bring about an increase in job opportunities? Only time will tell.