File Image: IOL

DURBAN - There have been 84 000 job cuts this past year in the agriculture sector according to a report by Agbiz.

The Agribiz report shows that 44 000 jobs were lost in the first quarter and a further 40 000 in the second quarter of 2017. 

These job losses can be attributed to lowered activity in labour intensive sectors such agriculture and some field crops. The agriculture experienced the same effects last year in the second quarter where 44000 jobs were lost.

Most of the decline in employment occurred in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces where the majority of the the labour intensive crops are grown. A notable cutback in employment of 23% quarter-on-quarter occurred in the Northern Cape. 

However the other five provinces saw an increase in employment, Mpumalanga had the highest employment growth of 13% quarter-on-quarter.

Agriculture Economist Wandile Sihlobo, speaking to eNCA, said that a huge portion of jobs are seasonal labourers. These workers are brought in for harvesting or some activities on the farms. 

The weather is also a factor that affects jobs in the agriculture sector. Good weather allows for agriculture growth and jobs like harvesting for people. 

The Western Cape province is going through a period of drought where some parts are under water restrictions and last month, in the Northern Cape, farmers were seeking financial relief from government because of the drought, according to the SABC. 

The third quarter of the year could pick up in line with seasonal trends. The improvement will most likely come from the horticulture industry especially in seasonal labour. 

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE