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 percent year-on-year 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 (see featured Chart).

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 lands either under the state or communal areas are not brought into full production with a key focus on labour-intensive subsectors such as horticulture, notable job creation in South African agriculture will remain a pipedream.

More to say about this, but I am getting off the train in a few minutes, so I will stop here for now.

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