We don’t normally bombard you with emails (or posts, for those reading this online), but since our note this morning previewed South Africa’s primary agricultural jobs situation (see here), we deem it appropriate to provide an update. Data released this morning by Statistics South Africa shows that the country’s agricultural jobs were up 1% (or 5 000) from the third quarter of 2019 and up 4% (or 36 000) from the last quarter of 2018, estimated at 885 000.

The notable jobs gains were in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo. This was largely in the horticulture and field crops and livestock subsectors.

We believe that the Western Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal jobs were mainly in horticulture and field crops subsectors (specifically winter crops), while the livestock subsector job gains might have mainly been in the Free State. The Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga agricultural sectors registered job losses, but this was offset by improvements in other provinces. Hence, on balance, the country’s agricultural sector registered employment net gains from the previous quarter and the corresponding period in 2018.

We are generally optimistic about the near-term agricultural jobs outlook. The potential improvement in summer crops production, following an 8% expansion in area plantings, coupled with the expected increase in wine grapes production and other fruits could lead to an increase in employment, albeit some of this could be seasonal.

Follow me on Twitter (@WandileSihlobo). E-mail: wandile@agbiz.co.za

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