By Daniel Itai, Pretoria, South Africa
Dr. Mmatlou Kalaba, a lecturer at the University of Pretoria and an agricultural economist has urged South Africans to involve themselves more in the agricultural sector.
This comes in the wake of yesterday’s unemployment figures which showed that the southern African country lost 2.2 million jobs in the second quarter of the current financial year.
Although many of the country’s sectors endured major economic blows which were further worsened by the current COVID-19 pandemic. The agricultural sector appreciated by a margin of 16 percent.
“The agricultural sector reacted to the National Development Plan that was set in 2010 and it was operating even under hard lockdown there wasn’t a complete shutdown of the sector. Moreso, government and the corporal sector are always there to support the sector. In addition, the agricultural sector is one of the strongest sectors not only in Africa but in the world,” said Dr. Kalaba.
The agricultural economist also went on to highlight the current plights that many rural farmers are facing.
“It is too expensive for them to move the produce to the markets which in turn disparages farmers.
We need to consolidate rural farmers by providing them with storage facilities and transport as a way of scaling up farming production in rural areas.
Moreover, the regulatory requirements need to be breached which are some of the many challenges rural farmers are facing however, they are a lot of young farmers who have managed to cross these bridges, but we need more. If we can consolidate at least a quarter of the 2.2 million people who lost their jobs, then that would certainly make a difference.
I encourage young people to be invested in agriculture because it’s not only about working on the farm. Involvement in the agricultural sector is more than just working on the farm,” said the agricultural economist.