Johannesburg - Farmers had no choice but to retrench workers and cut costs to survive, TAU SA said on Thursday.
The farmers' union said at least 2 000 farmworkers had been notified of their impending retrenchment, especially in Limpopo.
“These retrenchments are the beginning. Farmers started restructuring immediately after the announcement of the new minimum wage,” general manager Bennie van Zyl said.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced a new minimum wage of R105 a day for farmworkers on Monday - up from the current R69 a day. It would take effect on March 1.
Van Zyl said farmers had proposed an R80 wage, because of the “present state” of the agricultural sector.
He said most of the retrenchments were due to farmers mechanising their operations.
“The effect that this (minimum wage increase) would have on consumers and the country's food security are unimaginable.” - Sapa