Government has identified the agriculture sector and tourism as key industries in its efforts to arrest the runaway unemployment rate. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Government has identified the agriculture sector and tourism as key industries in its efforts to arrest the runaway unemployment rate.

National Treasury in an economic policy paper released for public comment yesterday said agriculture and services, especially the tourism sector, are conduits for labour-intensive growth.

“Several features of agriculture make it important in the pursuit of inclusive, labour-intensive economic growth: rural linkages, ability to absorb less-skilled labour, large multipliers due to extensive links with the rest of the economy, globally competitive labour productivity, and importance for export-led growth,” National Treasury said.

“Despite these advantages, the sector continues to experience low growth and declining employment.”

The government has targeted five measures to enable more investment in the agriculture sector.

Firstly, government said it wants to improve access to financing for farmers and wants the Land Bank should take an active role in expanding the range of agricultural insurance products to support business continuity, ensure food security and spur rural economic development.

The state also wants to beef trade promotion, market access and access to water for irrigated agriculture and establish market linkages for smallholders.

South African Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa  this week started 10-day trip across the world to woo visitors as part of government’s efforts to double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030.

National Treasury said the Department of Tourism should increase the level of support to tourism firms to navigate the highly regulated business environment. The Treasury has also proposed that greater budgetary support for tourism agencies is required and measures should be introduced to protect their budgets from the negative impact of currency fluctuations given their impact on marketing in foreign destinations.

BUSINESS REPORT