The Quarterly Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa showed a 3% y/y decline in agricultural employment in the first quarter of this year to 847 000 jobs - Wandile Sihlobo
The Quarterly Labour Force Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa showed a 3% y/y decline in agricultural employment in the first quarter of this year to 847 000 jobs (Chart 1). This was underpinned by a reduction in employment in the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Whilst understanding the reduction in employment for the Western Cape, in other provinces this came as a surprise considering that the weather conditions have been relatively favourable in the eastern parts of the country since the end of 2015/16 drought. The reduction in employment might be temporary, but it is worth highlighting that South Africa is still far behind its target of creating a million agricultural jobs by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan. 
Looking ahead – The effects of the Western Cape province’s drought combined with the reduced area plantings in the summer crop growing regions of the country could potentially weaken the performance of the agricultural labour market in the coming quarters. In terms of policy development, the business sector has generally accepted the impending introduction of the National Minimum Wage, but it will affect some subsectors within the agricultural sector more than others depending on the labour intensity and average labour skill required. For example, the horticultural sector is one of the likely sub-sectors to be impacted by the introduction of the National Minimum Wage as it is labour intensive relative to other sub-sectors.
 See Chapter 6 of the National Development Plan: https://nationalplanningcommission.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/ndp-2030-our-future-make-it-work_0.pdf
 Summer grain and oilseed harvest is estimated15.2 million tonnes, down by 21% from the previous season.
Wandile Sihlobo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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