Fin24

Big drop in farms, farmworkers

2011-01-26 13:24

Johannesburg - The number of both farms and farmworkers in South Africa has both dropped significantly since 1993, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.

"The number of people employed on commercial farms has dropped by 27.1%," it said in a statement on the findings of its latest South Africa Survey.

"Between 1993 and 2007, the number of people employed on commercial farms dropped from 1.1 million to 796 806."

The same trend was echoed in the number of farms, which declined from 57 987 in 1993 to 39 982 in 2007, a decrease of 31%.

"It is likely that there is increasing mechanisation on farms leading to a decline in the number of farmworkers," said Marius Roodt, a researcher at the institute.

"Economies of scale leading to farms merging is probably another reason for the decline in the numbers of farms."

The institute said Statistics SA data showed that all provinces, except Gauteng, had seen a drop in the number of people working on farms.

In Gauteng the number of people working on farms in 1993 was 34 302.

This increased by 2%, to 34 936, in 2007. This figure accounted for only about 4% of commercial farmworkers in the country.

The institute said Mpumalanga saw the biggest decline in the number of farmworkers, down by 45% over the same period.

The number of farmworkers declined by 39% in both the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal between 1993 and 2007.

All provinces saw a decline in the number of farms.

The biggest decline was in Limpopo, which saw the number of farms drop from 5 053 in 1993 to 2 657 in 2007, a decrease of 47%.

The smallest drop was in Gauteng, which saw a drop of 5% from 2 500 in 1993 to 2 378 in 2007.

Comments
  • Hein - 2011-01-26 14:06

    Where is the food going to come from. I guess from the shops. Subsidies has to be implimented (as in Europe and USA) and threats that land will be taken from farmers should be stopped. Government should have bi-latterial negotiations with Farmers to find out how government can help improve food security. The calculations is is easy = increase supply and you reduce the price as well.

  • zane - 2011-01-26 14:16

    see the anc land reform process has been a huge success? everything works in reverse

  • Vickerman - 2011-01-26 14:28

    Simple answer to the above decline - who would want to own a farm if the chances are pretty damn good it will be taken away from you sooner or later? Also - why employ lazy useless wekkers at high cost (both monetary and stress-wise) when you could rather mechanise? Another prime example of how the ANC's policies are damaging the country, and actually hurting the grass-roots communities that it affects.

  • Horst - 2011-01-26 14:29

    No, not surprised at all. But contrary what most of you will say it has nothing to do with the ANC. Its rather a natural process which has happened in many countries. With the loss of the marketing boards, lack of support from government and globalisation farmers had to become more efficient. But let me not get the ANC off totally blameless here, some of their stupid policies certainly haven't helped.

  • SP - 2011-01-26 15:06

    How can there be a reduction in farms? Surely the continent did not shrink? Did farmers consolidate farms? Did the farms blow away like they do in winter in the western Tvl? If you publish stats like these at least give some reasons please.

  • spin - 2011-01-26 15:32

    I've seen a report done by international company - our food prices will rise with 45% in the next tree years - mostly imported from 3rd world countries (ie:the goods that are sub-standard that they cannot sell to 1st world countries.

  • Andre - 2011-01-26 18:13

    Another shocking trend that will go unnoticed or rather ignored by the policymakers. Noteworthy to see that the areas with the biggest drop in employment correspond with those areas where most land reform actions took place.

  • bheki - 2011-01-26 20:16

    Short termism thinking by the ANC- It is obvious that people are paid grants hence no need to work. This is a sign of things to come if "decent jobs" policy and no temps is applied.

  • BernieK - 2011-01-26 22:39

    What is left out of the discussion is the more than 3800 farm murders and the thousands of attacks on farms. Please people, do NOT forget about that one!

  • Frans - 2011-01-27 07:27

    SP do you live in a different country?When I started farming with sub-tropical fruit we were 42 families in our valley,today there are 3 left,with only one a landowner.Most of the farms are not operating........thanks to landclaims!!!About 2000 workers lost there jobs.Two truck of bananas alone were loaded daily,now half a truck per week.Great???

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