• Time to join war effort

    It may be time to join Eskom in its War Room efforts, says Matthew le Cordeur.

  • Foreign friends

    Immigrants bring a powerful injection of energy and talent to SA, says Mandi Smallhorne.

  • Top 10 user comments

    Eskom attracts lively commentary, but other issues also stimulated debate.

Loading...
See More

Agricultural boycott could harm SA

Jan 07 2013 15:57 Sapa
Striking farm workers demand that their daily wage

Farmworkers are demanding a substantial wage hike. (AFP)

Related Articles

Govt calls for peaceful farm strikes

Cosatu threatens to boycott farmers

Farming under the spotlight at Mangaung

Ramaphosa a beacon of hope for SA farmers

Minister: Farm wage talks a stop-gap

Farmworker strike set to go ahead

 
Johannesburg - Calls for an international boycott of export fruit from South Africa are irresponsible, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Monday.

"A boycott will simply create opportunities for our competitors in South America, Australia and New Zealand to move in and grab our share of the market," said the Chamber's labour analyst Michael Bagraim in a statement.

Last week Congress of SA Trade Unions' provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said Cosatu would call on the international community to boycott South African agricultural products, because they were produced in "slave labour conditions".

"We are also calling on a mandate from the international community to boycott the products of those farmers who do not want to enter into decent negotiations with their workers," he said.

Western Cape farmworkers went on strike last year demanding R150 in pay per day and a coherent land reform programme.

At least two people were killed during protests in farming areas between August 27 and December 4 last year.

The strike was suspended but would resume on Wednesday.

The Chamber of Commerce said such a boycott was likely to do permanent damage to the agricultural sector of the Western Cape.

Bagraim said that once alternate suppliers entrenched themselves in the market it would be very difficult for South Africa to regain the confidence of customers and recapture lost ground.

"As it is the violence and destruction of the farm workers' strike as well as the extravagant demands of union leaders has already got our customers worried. I have no doubt they are already talking to other suppliers," Bagraim said.

He said the unions did not seem to understand that agriculture was a vastly different industry from mining.

"If work stops on mines there are huge losses but the gold and the platinum remain in the ground for extraction at a later date. On the farms, however, the fruit rots in the fields and a whole year's work and investments are lost forever."

This also undermined the sector's ability to invest in next year's crop.

Bagraim warned that drastic increases in wages would drive up production costs and make South African fruit too expensive.

"Increased costs and uncertainty about the labour force will leave farmers no option but to mechanise and that will mean a permanent loss of jobs."

He pointed out that agriculture offered the best hope for the unskilled and unemployed people in rural areas to earn some money.

"Don't take these opportunities away from people who desperately need to earn money for food and clothing," Bagraim said.
 

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

farms  |  strike action

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
61 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

SMALL BUSINESS

Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.
 
 

Karl Lagerfeld spotted with custom gold Apple Watch

Fashion designer Carl Lagerfeld has just proved that fashion and tech can indeed go together!

 
 

Luxury living

WATCH: Private luxury island for sale!
The most luxurious dog house!
Must see: The world’s most expensive timepiece
Exciting new luxury SUV arrives in SA!

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

What brand of smartphone has been stolen from you?

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...