Farmers ready to limit reliance on farm workers – Mulder

2012-11-21 12:00

An “exorbitant” increase in the minimum wage for farm workers will bring about job losses and mechanisation in the sector, Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder has said.

He said farmers were ready to limit their reliance on farm workers, following the recent violent strikes in various farming towns in Western Cape.

“The current agricultural strikes will change agriculture in South Africa forever,” he said at an agriculture day in Willowmore in Eastern Cape.

Mulder said a reduction in the number of farm workers over the past seven years was part of an international trend, but the situation in South Africa was compounded by a range of controversial decisions.

Farm worker numbers had decreased from more than one million in 2004 to 624 000 last year.

“Factors such as land reform, government interference on farms and the general insecurity about the future of agriculture has made this figure in South Africa much higher than the decrease in other countries,” Mulder said.

He said the number of jobs lost will speed up as farmers move to mechanisation following the strikes.

“In developed countries such as the USA and Australia, where there are few farm workers available, farm implements are already so developed that it assists farm owners to manage without hundreds of farm workers.”

Mulder said more than half of commercial farmers in the country had a turnover of less than R300 000.

“With the increasing prices in electricity, water and fuel, farmers cannot afford the sudden increase in labour costs.”

Mulder said farmers will be left with two choices: bankruptcy or staff cuts.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.