Agriculture

Agricultural resilience boosts jobs

Statistics SA’s earlier released its latest economic growth numbers for the second quarter underpinned by robust gains in transport sector (6.9%) followed by agriculture (6.2%). 

Agriculture sector had a trade surplus of US$1.5 million which is equivalent to 40% far ahead than the previous year.  

FNB Agriculture said the overall growth in Q2 was because of the resilience in the agriculture sector. “Leading signs of yet another impressive rebound, ahead of the release of 2Q2021 GDP numbers included the robust harvest of summer grain and oilseed crops, good commodity prices, the record high agribusiness confidence, as well as strong exports” it said in a statement. 

In terms of labour, Stats SA earlier in August, released its Quarterly Labour Force Survey which again indicated the sector’s resilience in employing 63 000 more employees on a year-on-year basis and 69 000 more employees on a quarter-to-quarter basis. 

According to the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), this constituted to a 7.8% change year on year and an 8.7% quarter to quarter. 

“This shows that overall employment has increased by 31.7%, from 655 000 to 862 000 jobs, between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2021, respectively,” said the council. 

Stats SA figures shared brilliance of the citrus industry, despite challenges of COVID-19 and export restrictions. In totality, the Western Cape was the leading employer of agricultural workers because of its proximity to being export orientated. 

The Bureau of Food and Agriculture Policy (BFAP) said the province created around 255 000 jobs in the 1st Quarter of 2020, which was the highest number since 2008. 

“We expected the current level of employment in the Western Cape to be on par with 2020Q1 with the growth in fruit jobs potentially offsetting some of the job declines occurring in the wine grape industry in 2021.” 

Agriculture upward trajectory is set to continue the trend as expressed by the AgBiz/IDC Agriculture Business Confidence.  

FNB also had a positive outlook based solely on the recent weather forecasts for the 2021/2022 summer crop season. 

“This combined with relatively strong commodity prices despite input cost pressures, should deliver another year good agriculture year ahead and positive news on the inflation front with the food category likely to be tamed” added senior agriculture economist at FNB Paul Makube. 

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