Stats SA released quarter 4 GDP statistics with sombre news. South Africa entered into a technical recession following two successive quarters contraction.
According to Stats SA, GDP growth for 4Q19 was recorded at -1.4%. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries recorded -0.2% to GDP growth. In the 4th quarter, agriculture decreased by 7.6% compared to the 3rd quarter at 3.6%.
“The downward trend in the agriculture sector was mostly due to decreased production that was reported for field crops as well as horticultural products,” Stats SA Deputy Director General for Economic Statistics, Joe De Beer.
The decrease of agricultural production could be attributed to the continual fall in the production of field crops and horticultural products.
By far and above, the agricultural economy has been in recession since September 2019. Agricultural economists have been warning of falling production levels encouraged by policy uncertainty especially in the outbreak of FMD, drought mitigation and the ongoing land debate.
The falling of agricultural commodities also suggests the sector has been shedding jobs.
By the decrease in numbers, it is a clear indication that South Africa’s agricultural economy is at the crossroads.
The land debate is going nowhere slowly and it is a necessary pain the agricultural sector needed to revisit and find common pathways.
South Africa’s agriculture also needed to be modernised in order to transform the economy. From traditional technology to modern technology agriculture needed to play a central role to ensure it generates a high-income service economy.