Agri SA is concerned about the rising unemployment rate and wishes to remind the government that investor confidence, especially in agriculture, is imperative to get job creation on track.
The increase in South Africa’s unemployment levels to a record high of 29% indicates that an organised and focused strategy applied by all South Africans is now needed. Agriculture’s employment levels have remained fairly stable compared to other sectors in that only 1 000 jobs have been lost since the first quarter.
“The figures show that agriculture could be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel,” said Jahni de Villiers, head of policy at Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Labour and Development. “Policy uncertainty, like expropriation without compensation and poor economic growth, is an obstacle to real job creation in the agricultural sector.”
Agri SA is involved in various official discussion forums on labour policy, for example Nedlac and the National Minimum Wage Commission, and will continue to promote the prioritisation of sustainable job creation in agriculture. Other limitations, such as drought and farm safety, of course, also require attention to improve the current challenging business environment for farmers.
“Agriculture can be of great assistance in addressing unemployment, but farmers and agribusinesses urgently require policy certainty and support in order to do so.”
Agri SA remains committed to an agricultural sector that grows sustainably and will continue to consult via its structures at grassroots level to add further momentum to these policy deliberations.