OPTIMISM FOR SECTOR
WANDILE SIHLOBO: Outlook is positive for agricultural jobs
In the longer term, there are still concerns that the El Niño weather pattern may return later in 2017
Contrary to market expectation of a mild uptick in SA’s GDP in the first quarter of 2017, the country has slipped into a technical recession after two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. Every sector of the economy, except for mining and agriculture, had a negative effect on GDP. After eight consecutive quarters of contraction, the agricultural sector has rebounded, with the quarter-on-quarter growth reaching a significant 22.2% seasonally adjusted and annualised. The sector benefited from a low base effect and a recovery in agricultural output, particularly for summer grains and oilseeds and horticulture. This increase is largely attributed to good summer rainfall and increased summer grain acreage. The 2017 summer grain and oilseeds production is set to reach 18.03-million tonnes — a 92% annual increase. The key contributors to this are maize and soybean — respectively reaching record levels of 15.63-million tonnes and 1.23-million tonnes.Although this improvement is...