Agriculture performs poorly despite 3,1% GDP growth

Statistics South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) data for the second quarter of the year showed a growth of 3,1%, driven by mining, finance, trade and government services.

According to the report that was released on Tuesday, this was a sharp increase compared to the decline of 3,2% in the first quarter, which was the sharpest quarterly drop seen in South Africa in a decade.

However, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector as well as the construction industry decreased 4,2% and 1,6% respectively, and each contributed -0,1 of a percentage point to GDP growth.

Dawie Maree, head of information and marketing for agriculture at FNB said the decline of 4,2% was surprising, but the fundamental principles made sense.

“The majority of summer crops are still [being harvested] due to the late harvest and also a smaller [crop].”

He added that there were also smaller table and wine grapes crops, which had an impact on growth in the sector.

“We expect a rebound in the third quarter, due the late maize season, which is usually [completed] in the second quarter, but [was] only finished in the third quarter.”

Maree said it was important to compare the effects of this growth against the previous season’s results, thus comparing second quarter growth this year with that of last year.

South Africa’s overall quarter-on-quarter growth was t 3,1%, with year-on-year growth standing at 0,9%.

Nominal GDP in the second quarter was estimated at R1,26 trillion, which was higher than the R1,20 trillion recorded in the first quarter of the year.

The report stated that mining was the strongest performer in the second quarter, expanding 14,4%.

This was the industry’s strongest showing in three years since the second quarter of 2016, when production jumped by 16,3%. Iron ore, manganese and coal were the main contributors to mining growth.

Finance, real estate and business services, the largest sector in the South African economy, grew 4,1%.

This growth came on the back of stronger performances by the banking and insurance industries. General government services increased 3,4%, mainly attributable to an increase in employment.

Author: Annelie Coleman

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People in Southern Africa demand for more Social Accountability in the Agriculture Sector

Lusaka, March 2019.

People in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have called for Member States to progressively allocate budgets to agriculture to reach the Malabo Declaration target of at least 10% % to sustain annual agricultural GDP growth of at least 6% annually

Small scale farmers, CSOs and law makers from national parliaments and the Regional SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) says national investments in agriculture should align with farmers own priorities and focus on financing diversified smallholder support programs, such as extension services, research, climate change adaptation, input support, improving access to finance and market

They were speaking at the 3rd Regional Budget Summit on Strengthening Social Accountability in Health and Agriculture in Southern Africa, co-hosted by the Partnership for Social Accountability (PSA) Alliance and the SADC PF.

The Summit was held in Lusaka, Zambia bringing representatives from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia recently

In the Communiqué released at the Summit, delegates urged SADC Secretariat to urgently operationalize the established SADC Food and Nutrition Security Regional Steering Committee as formed during the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy Forum in Malawi (2014), which is to advise on regional food and nutrition policy frameworks and strategies

They also called upon SADC Member States to support innovative research and development to develop and redirection of funds towards the adoption of agro ecological practices such as use of community-based seed systems, improvement of soil fertility through increasing soil organic matter, integrated pest management as opposed to hybrid seed and chemically intensive agriculture

The Summit in Lusaka recommend the supreme audit institutions of Member States to conduct performance audits of their agricultural extension services and conduct forensic audits of all farmers support programs with a focus on Farm Input Support Programs (FISP) to identify and address the systematic internal control weaknesses that allow for misuse of funds and in enabling small holder farmers particularly women to sustainably contribute to the realization of food security goals in the region

The Communiqué was submitted to SADC Secretariat, and the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit scheduled for August 2019.

The PSA alliance for social accountability in southern Africa is made of ESAFF, Actionaid South Africa, SAfaids and PSAM – Rhodes University in South Africa. To read the entire communique click here

Minister launches small-scale fisheries in Kwazulu-Natal

The Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Senzeni Zokwana, launched the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector of KwaZulu-Natal eMandeni, KwaMazitapele, in Kwazulu Natal on 19 March. Zokwana said government took a decision, in line with the amended Marine Living Resources Act, to introduce small-scale fisheries as a way of addressing the injustices of the past and to contribute to building the rural and coastal economy.

The launch of the sector involved:

  • Declaring small-scale fishing co-operatives by handing over the co-operative, certificates to the first twenty-nine (29) registered co-operatives with 2 000 members from communities located in the greater KZN area to be allocated 15-year fishing rights,
  • Announcing the schedule for the rights application and allocation process, and
  • Announcing some of the support programmes for small-scale fishing co-operatives in partnership with the Provincial Government of KZN.

“Our imagination is to see small-scale fisheries graduate from small-scale primary fishing to processing and marketing. We must see them owning big vessels and competing at a bigger scale in the market. Fisheries is a sector worth a trillion rand in the ocean economy. It cannot be left to the whims of those who dominate it to open up to those who were previously disadvantaged,” the minister said.

Many other economic activities linked to harvesting by small-scale fishers occur as a direct result of their efforts. These are:

  • Sales of fish and fish products,
  • Fish cleaning and preparation,
  • Boat-building and boat repairs,
  • Net-making and repairs.

Women benefit from the multiplier effects brought about by small scale fishing.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) viewed South Africa’s small-scale fisheries policy (SSFP) as the most progressive of its kind in the world. The challenge was how the SSFP would be implemented given its broad and idealistic scope. In 2013 the Small-Scale Fisheries Implementation Plan, a document explaining how the policy would be implemented over a period of 5 years and at an estimated cost of over R400 million, was adopted.

After a window for expression of interest was open to all coastal communities, KwaZulu Natal had
2 184 small-scale fishers recognised for the province. The Small-Scale Fishing Regulations stipulate that small-scale fishing communities can be recognised as a small-scale community only if there is a minimum of 20 recognised small-scale fishers.

The recognised small-scale fishers from the remaining communities that do not meet the minimum requirements will join other recognised fishers to form a virtual small-scale fishing community. There are 37 communities recognised as small-scale fishing communities in KZN of which 29 have been registered.

The minister said support was needed to grow this new sub-sector of the fishing sector established to increase previously disadvantaged people into the fishing business. –

Press release:

‘Research needed to mitigate food insecurity in Africa’

The rise in global food insecurity is a serious cause for concern, given the ever increasing global population, especially on the African continent.

Ongoing research was therefore of the essence to counteract the scourge in future.

This was according to Prof Sanlie Middelberg of the School of Accounting Sciences at North-West University’s campus in Potchefstroom.

Middelberg, who was recently promoted to full professor at the university, said during her inauguration ceremony that 17% (1,3 billion) of the global population of nearly 7,6 billion people lived in Africa.

“The global population is predicted to grow to almost 9,8 billion by 2050. This is an increase of 2,2 billion from 2017, of whom 1,3 billion (57%) is expected to [live] in Africa,” she added.

While several African countries were expected to triple in size between 2017 and 2100, the populations of Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Nigeria, Somalia and Tanzania were expected to grow by a factor of five.

The population of Nigeria, the most populous of these countries, was expected to outnumber that of Europe by the end of the century.

In 2017, almost 10% of the world’s population (770 million people) experienced severe food insecurity as measured by the international Food Insecurity Experience Scale.

This scale estimated people’s ability to access food. Severe food insecurity was defined as someone going “for entire days without eating due to lack of money or other resources”.

A total of 375 million of the world’s food insecure people lived in Africa, representing three out of every 10 people on the continent, she said.

The population of sub-Saharan Africa was the youngest in the world, according to Middelberg, with 62% younger than 25 years of age.

The region’s population was expected to double over the next 35 years, which would mean an additional 17 million youths reaching an employable age every year by 2035.

“The agriculture sector has a pivotal role to play both in providing food security and creating employment. However, to achieve these goals, research into agricultural finance, in particular, is of the essence, especially in South Africa,” she said.

Story by: Annelie Coleman