SA agriculture labour market

The Agbiz Agribusiness Research desk, headed by economist Wandile Sihlobo, offers role players access to relevant and up to date agricultural economic insights. Read latest and previous updates:

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02/11

 

SA agriculture jobs up marginally in Q4, 2019

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data for the fourth quarter of 2019 show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment increased by 4.2% (or 36 000 jobs) from the corresponding period last year to 885 000. The notable job gains were mainly in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo. This was largely in the horticulture, field crops and livestock subsectors. These activities, however, were not evenly spread across all provinces. We believe that the Western Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal job gains were mainly in horticulture and field crops (specifically winter crops). While the slight improvement in the livestock subsector employment could be in the Free State. Other provinces, namely the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga experienced a reduction in agricultural employment over the observed period. But this was overshadowed by the improvement in the aforementioned provinces, hence, on balance, South Africa’s primary agriculture sector registered employment net gains from the corresponding period in 2018.

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07/30

 

What’s needed for SA agriculture to boost jobs?

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q2: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 0.2% from the corresponding period last year to 842 000 (Figure 1). The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were mainly field crops, the game industry and forestry. In the case of field crops, the reduction in employment was unsurprising following a reduction in activity in the fields on the back of a poor harvest in the 2018/19 season, all of which is underpinned by unfavourable weather conditions earlier in the season. From a regional perspective, a notable decline in employment was recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State and Limpopo, whilst other provinces saw a marginal uptick (Figure 2).

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05/14

 

Only an increase in area farmed would notably induce employment in SA agriculture

The latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey data (Q1: 2019) show that South Africa’s primary agricultural employment fell by 1% from the corresponding period last year to 837 000 (Figure 1). The subsectors that faced a notable reduction were field crops, livestock and forestry, partly due to a reduction in area plantings on the back of unfavourable weather conditions in the case of field crops. From a regional perspective, the provinces that faced a notable decline were the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga (Figure 2). Meanwhile, other provinces saw a marginal uptick. While the first quarter agricultural employment data does not bring much excitement, it is by no means an underperformance if we compare it to the average five-year employment of 829 000.

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02/12

 

Slight improvement in SA agricultural jobs

South Africa’s primary agricultural employment improved marginally to 849 000 jobs in the last quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter. Although this data is encouraging in a climate where South Africa is exploring strategies that could unlock job creation in the agricultural sector, the country is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. What's more, if the underutilised land in the former homelands and other parts of the country are not brought into full production with a key focus on labour-intensive sub-sectors, notable job creation in South Africa’s agriculture will not materialise. Fortunately, the President in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) signalled a positive message on this.

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10/30

SA agricultural employment up in Q3, but far from government target

The benefits of improvements in the Western Cape’s weather conditions are evident in the third quarter agricultural jobs data, which boosted the overall sectoral employment by 3% y/y to 842 000 jobs. The other provinces that made a notable contribution were Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo, through the increased activity in the field crops and livestock subsectors. While this is encouraging in a climate where South Africa is exploring strategies that could unlock job creation in the agricultural sector, the country is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. What's more, if the underutilised land in the former homelands and other parts of the country are not brought into full production with a key focus on labour intensive crops, notable job creation in agriculture will remain a pipedream.

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07/31

SA agricultural employment up by 1% y/yin Q2, 2018

The Quarterly Labour Force  Survey conducted by Statistics  South  Africa showed a percentage point annual increase in agricultural employment in the second quarter of this year to 843 000 jobs (Figure1).This was supported by improvement in employment in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape,Limpopo and the Northern Cape. This is underpinned by increased activity in the grain and horticultural fields during the harvesting period. Although the improvement in agricultural jobs is an encouraging development,it is worth noting that South Africa is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. 

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02/13 SA agricultural employment down by 8% y/y in Q4, 2017
After experiencing a decline in employment in the first three quarters of 2017, South Africa’s agricultural sector recorded a 5% q/q rebound in employment in the fourth quarter to 849 000 jobs. This quarterly increase was mainly in field crops, horticulture and livestock sub-sectors. The provinces driving it were the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. Overall, while the quarterly uptick is encouraging, agricultural employment is still down when compared to the corresponding period the previous year.
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ENQUIRIES:
Wandile Sihlobo
Agbiz Head: Agribusiness Research
Contact: Email wandile@agbiz.co.za or call +27 12 807 6686
Twitter: @WandileSihlobo

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