Agriculture plays a crucial role in the broader economy, constituting about 6 percent of South Africa’s total labour force. This is double that of the noisiest industry, mining, and almost at par with the transport industry. The recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey from Statistics South Africa revealed that employment in the agricultural sector grew 4 percent, or 38,000 jobs, in the fourth quarter of 2016, from the previous quarter, putting the sector’s total labour force at 919,000.
The areas that showed significant job growth were livestock (mainly driven by increased red meat slaughter), horticulture, crop farming, game farming and ocean and coastal fishing. Livestock, horticulture and crop farming are the largest contributors to agriculture’s total labour force, employing 64 percent.
Collectively, livestock, horticulture and crop farming saw a 12 percent quarterly growth in labour participation. In addition to increased red meat slaughter, there was increased harvest activity and increased activity in summer crop areas.
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