Today's Labour News

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farming thumb medium80 84Business Times reports that organised agriculture is to ask the government for R3bn in emergency relief after a multi-year drought left five of SA's nine provinces critically parched and two others extremely vulnerable.  

As many as 31,000 jobs have been lost in the affected areas since January last year, AgriSA said on Friday in a comprehensive survey of the sector.  Seven out of every 10 farmers were struggling financially and half indicated that they could be forced to retrench workers because of the drought, AgriSA indicated.  Agriculture accounts for only about 2% of the economy, but punches above its weight in terms of jobs and its role in food security.  A widespread drought that started in 2016 has hit maize producers, fruit growers and cattle farmers.  The Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Western Cape and North West are classified "critical".  KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are at risk if future rainfall disappoints.  The agriculture departments in the Northern Cape and Western Cape have provided some relief, but more was needed, said AgriSA.  The organisation is approaching the other provinces and the national government for help.  The plan is to secure money from the fiscus's contingency reserve.  Citadel economist Maarten Ackerman commented:  "The [job] absorption rate of agriculture is much higher than other sectors," and it was an especially important employer in rural communities.

  • Read TJ Strydom’s report in the above regard in full at BL Premium (paywall access only)

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