South Africa Agricultural sector is one of the most mechanized in the whole of Africa. There are predictions that this could be the only saving grace in the advent of Economic struggle. True to these words, it has certainly lived up to expectations.
As other sectors continue to struggle, the Agricultural sector recorded over $10.9 billion from exports in 2018. This historic performance is attributable in particular to the increase in exports of oranges, grapes, wines, corn, lemons, wool, and apple.
South African Agricultural Sector Numbers
Asia ranks third with 25% of market share through products such as meat, beverages, cereals, and vegetables while the Americas close the podium with 5% of total trade. The strong export performance coupled with the low imports ($ 6.7 billion) allowed the agricultural trade balance to show a surplus of $ 3.9 billion in 2018. Overall, the exceptional result recorded outweighs the concerns expressed a year earlier, on the ability of the agricultural sector to cope with many headwinds such as drought or the strength of the rand. This feat also strengthens agriculture as one of the country’s main sources of foreign exchange (12% of total merchandise exports).
If the agriculture sector directly contributes 2.5% of GDP, it should be noted that this contribution increases to 12% when the value-added of processing and manufacturing activities is taken into account
Today, We take a look at the contribution of the Agricultural sector to the Economy
The Food Supply
The agricultural sector has been praised by the media and stakeholders for doing more than just providing food for the nation. When all looks blurry, the sector has stood the test of time by ensuring the country never runs out of food. According to studies, the average South African household spends nothing less than 70% of its total earning on food. A larger percentage of those goes to beef, cereals and eggs.
The statistics are not reliable and is hard to determine the exact figure the agricultural sector employs yearly. Nevertheless, studies show that the sector employs nothing less than 700,000 workers. this figure makes the sector one of the bigger employers in the country but comes short when compared with the industrial sector.
However, the sector is labor-intensive when compared to other sectors. Hence, it contains more of the older labor force as the younger working class prefer to work in industries rather than tilling the soil. The number of people employed by the mining sector is almost double that of the agricultural sector. However, with more investment coming into the agricultural sector, the numbers are expected to increase.
Where other sectors have failed, the agricultural sector has continued to bloom in the labor market. While South Africa, has its own shares of Imports, it has never affected its export rate. Hence, both sectors sees balanced.
The mining and manufacturing sector no doubt has the highest employment rate but theu have struggle to provide the economy with numbers in recent years. While the income generated yearly by the agricultural sector may not be up to theirs, it isn’t far off either.