Farming fails GDP

Khangale Makhado

Khangale Makhado

Agriculture is lagging behind other sectors and contributes only 2,6percent to South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP).

This fact emerged in Polokwane yesterday where the provincial Agriculture Department hosted a meeting to debate the sector's declining contribution to the GDP.

Statistics South Africa's acting executive manager in Limpopo, Nthambeleni Mukwevho, told the meeting at the Bolivia Lodge near Polokwane that agriculture's poor contribution to the GDP has been going on for years.

"Over the years, and since 1960, it has been on the decline compared with other sectors. Though there is overall growth in Limpopo, there is a decline in agricultural growth," Mukwevho said.

Another consequence of the decline is unemployment. Agriculture employs between 12percent and 17,5percent of the population in the commercial farming sector. The informal or subsistence smallholder farming sub-sector, on the other hand, employs between 20percent and 25percent.

Phil van Zyl, managing director of ZZ2, a major tomato grower, said the government needed to put in place tariff barriers and create ways where farmers can sell their produce beyond South Africa's borders.