Opinion Piece

South Africa’s Agricultural fortunes from the 2nd Quarter of 2020 are confusing: Why?

Let me start with a note that I do not have an answer to the question and it is my intention to start the discussion that uncovers the real reason/s.

The performance of the South African economy on quarter two of 2020 and the labour force survey were recently released. To a large degree they confirmed what many analysts had predicted of a huge contraction and huge job losses.

The performance of the South African economy indicated clearly that it suffered a significant decline. In what was labelled by some commentators as the sea of red there was a green spot, the agricultural sector. This important sector had grown by 15% in quarter two and a number of reasons where put on how it has grown while others had shrunken by huge numbers. The positive growth of the agricultural industry brough huge pride in those of us who are in the agricultural space. 

Yesterday – 29th September 2020, Statistics South Africa released the quarterly labour force survey indicating a 2,2 million drop in the number of persons employed. This drop in employment was expected considering the performance of the economy during the same period as was already communicated. However, the losses in the number of persons employed included agricultural sector by 66 000 persons in spite of the positive growth. I know for a fact that harvesting of maize is not one of the labour-intensive activities while the harvesting of citrus including the packaging labour intensive.

It would be important that this contradiction gets explained. If left unexplained, it will leave the public with the notion that concept of jobless growth in not a theoretic imagination but reality. As I am thinking of the possible reasons, I was reminded of an isiXhosa idiom that goes like “akukho nzwana ingena siphaku”.

The question is, can this contradiction be explained?

Article by : Mr Bonani Nyondo

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Mzansi Agriculture Talk or its members.

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