SA agriculture sheds 109 000 jobs | Fin24
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SA agriculture sheds 109 000 jobs

Nov 03 2017 19:41

Cape Town - The combined agricultural job cuts for the past three quarters of 2017 has reached 109 000, of which about 84% were in the Western Cape, according to economist Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz).

After cutting 84 000 jobs in the first half of 2017, South Africa’s agricultural sector saw a further 25 000 jobs lost in the third quarter, placing SA’s agricultural labour force at 810 000 jobs.

Unlike the past three years when the third quarter figures presented an uptick in agricultural employment, the sector continued to experience job losses this year due to reduced activity in field crops and the horticultural sector, Sihlobo explained in the latest Agbiz newsletter.

In his view, the job losses in the Western Cape reflect the impact of the continued drought on agricultural activity in the province. The province remains the largest agricultural employer with a share of 20%.

The Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo also saw a decline in employment in the third quarter owing to reduced farming activity during this winter season.

The reduction in employment was in field crops and horticulture, livestock, mixed farming, and production of organic fertiliser. Other sub-sectors such as game farming, forestry and aquaculture showed job gains.

"The persistent drought in the Western Cape province remains a key risk that could potentially undermine the performance of agricultural labour market," said Sihlobo.

"Although the summer crop-producing provinces could experience an increase in activity in the fourth quarter of this year, there’s limited chance of notable improvement in employment. Most summer crops are not labour intensive, particularly grains and oilseeds."

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agbiz  |  wandile sihlobo  |  jobs  |  sa economy  |  agribusiness  |  agriculture


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