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Negative outlook for agri employment, despite good harvests

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Source: Siyanda Sishuba, Farmer’s Weekly, 11 July 2020, photo credit: Agri News Net Farmingportal

The positive performance of the agriculture industry in South Africa, as indicated by current economic data, should persist throughout 2020.

However, employment trends may not follow their typical trajectory in response to this “booming production”, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seasonal labour component of the agricultural labour force could be the hardest hit during the year, according to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at Agbiz.

He said South Africa’s most recent agricultural economic data reaffirmed Agbiz’s view that this would be a recovery year for the sector, following two consecutive years of decline.

Data released recently showed that the gross value added (GVA) figures for agriculture expanded 27,8% quarter-on-quarter, on a seasonally-adjusted and annualised basis, for the first quarter of the year.

“From a field crops perspective, South Africa currently expects its second-largest grain harvest on record, for the 2019/2020 production season.
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