Agriculture key to SA's economic recovery

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Minister Didiza.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, says the agricultural sector has demonstrated its resilience and capability to support South Africa's overall economic recovery and growth, both in terms of job creation and contribution to the economy.

This comes after StatsSA released the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) data on Tuesday, which showed that the agricultural sector has once again created new jobs amounting to 61 000 in the third quarter of 2023, increasing the total employment in agriculture to 956 000. 

Didiza said she is satisfied with the agricultural sector's positive contribution to the country’s job creation.

“This is the highest employment figure in agriculture since the start of the modern democratic era. The last time the agricultural sector recorded a million jobs was in 1993, the era which was underpinned by subsidies,” said Didiza on Wednesday. 

The QLFS indicated that the total number of employed people in the country increased by 399 000 to 16.7 million in the third quarter of 2023, compared to 16.3 million in the second quarter of 2023. 

These changes in employment have resulted in the official unemployment rate decreasing by 0.7 of a percentage point from 32.6% in the second quarter of 2023 to 31.9% in the third quarter of 2023. 

Didiza said the latest employment figures suggest that the economy is gradually recovering and starting to create some jobs.

“The positive jobs in agriculture attest to the continuous commitment by government, industry, labour, and other value chain players to implement inclusive growth and job-creating measures contained under the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan. 

“The resuscitation of agriculture in rural areas and continued expansion of export opportunities are amongst the enablers that have brought growth and stability in the sector,” Didiza said. –