Friday, March 31, 2017

South Africa: Economy needs to grow fast to absorb 26 million job seekers

South Africa, an economy in dilemma (Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/TNBES/March 2017)
By Modou S. Joof, Pretoria, South Africa

The South African economy needs to grow fast to absorb 26 million jobseekers over the next 15 years, according to Andre Du Randt, a sales manager of Pannar Seed – a seed group with research and development at its core.

Currently, more than five million young South Africans 24 years and below are without jobs. Randt said this category forms the largest share of unemployment in the mineral-rich African country.
The reason, he said, is that the county’s young people do not want to work in the farms. Like in many countries on the continent, agriculture is still associated with poverty.
Randt said the young people in South Africa prefer the better-paying white-collar jobs as an alternative to farming – still a labour-intensive occupation in the rainbow nation especially for subsistence and small holder farmers.
“Job creation is vital for success of all challenges like poverty and inequality, education and socio-economic conditions,” he said on Friday when the 2017 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and DuPont Pioneer Master Class and the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders visited Pannar.

Master class & young leaders on farm tour of Pannar (Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/TNBES/March 2017)
Can achieve more

Speaking in Greytown in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, Randt said South Africa is currently going through a transition, growing at a rate of less than one percent at the moment with a rise in social growth.

He also said South Africa is a country with vast resources but if “we can stimulate job resources, we can achieve more.”

Izak De Lange, a smallholder farmer, said there is need for stability in order to improve conditions for farmers like him.

“Stability is needed to create a country where people will feel hopeful,” the cattle rancher, maize and soybean grower, Lange, said. “To tap the available resources, South Africans need investment and entrepreneurial skills to tie the vast resources and the population together.”

Pannar Seed is one of the largest field crop seed producers and suppliers in Africa since 1958.  It is the first private company to introduce its own maize hybrids in South Africa in the 1960s, and has over the years expanded its research and commercial activities into various other crops and territories.

Twenty participants from America, Australia, Austria, England, Cameroon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Togo, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Sweden, and Zambia are currently taking part in the Master Class and Young Leaders Programme – meant for professional development, leadership training and global networking in South Africa.

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