Agriculture sounds jobs warning

Staff Writer | May 16, 2019
Agri SA urges President Cyril Ramaphosa to give immediate attention to rising joblessness, especially in agriculture.

The rise in unemployment levels in South Africa, especially in agriculture, is a major concern and deserves the immediate attention of President Cyril Ramaphosa in his new tenure, Agri SA said on Wednesday.

South Africa's unemployment rate has risen to its highest level since the third quarter of 2017, to 27.6 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2019, according to the quarterly labour force figures released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday.pastedGraphic.png

The agricultural sector lost an estimated 12 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2019 on a quarterly basis and 9 000 jobs on an annual basis. The Eastern Cape alone lost 90 000 jobs over the year, bringing the expanded unemployment rate in the province to 48.3%.

Agri SA said that only policy certainty, a strengthening of investor confidence and the active support of the business sector would solve the jobs crisis.pastedGraphic.png

Agriculture has been touted by government as one of the few sectors capable of seeing employment growth. 

However, Jahni de Villiers, policy chief of Agri SA Labor and Development Center of Excellence, said: ‘The agricultural sector's aim to create one-million jobs, as contained in the National Development Plan, will not be met if there is no consistent government support. Rising labour costs cannot be ignored. If these negative trends continue, it will exacerbate the unemployment crisis.’


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