Animal products boost agriculture’s bottom line
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JOHANNESBURG - THE AGRICULTURAL sector made significant monetary gains between 2017 and 2019, with income rising by R37.4 billion in the period following a devastating drought.
Data from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) yesterday showed that the total income earned in the agriculture and related services sector rose by 5.8 percent to R351.4bn in 2019, compared with R314bn in 2017.
StatsSA said animals and animal products generated the largest sales, R153.1bn, in 2019, followed by horticultural crops and products at R86.3bn, and field crops at R61.9bn.
The highest annualised percentage increase was recorded for income earned from the sale of animals and animal products, followed by horticultural crops and products, and field crops.
“In 2019, the 100 largest enterprises in the agriculture and related services industry contributed 26.5 percent of total income,” StatsSA said.
“Large enterprises contributed 60.2 percent, or R211.3bn, of the total income in 2019, followed by small enterprises, with a contribution of 22.4 percent, or R78.8bn.”
In spite of the sector’s gains, StatsSA said total expenditure incurred by the farming sector for 2019 increased by 6.9 percent to R330.4bn compared with R289.1bn in 2017.
The highest contributor to total expenditure was purchases, followed by salaries and wages, repairs and maintenance, and depreciation.
The results were derived from the 2019 agricultural sample survey, an annual survey that measures economic activity in the agriculture and related services industry.
The agricultural sector was expected to continue making a positive contribution to the economy this year following its impressive 5.9 percent rise last year, mainly because of the increased production of animal products.
South Africa views agriculture as one of the important sectors in its economic reconstruction and recovery plan, after the economy was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plan entails the potential expansion of agricultural production, which will be carried out through master plans that are in the final stages of being drafted.
The expected increase in output will require export markets, because South Africa’s agricultural sector is export-orientated.
Last week, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) released a Trade Policy Statement that seeks to build industrial capacity and drive exports in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
DTIC Minister Ebrahim Patel said there was agreement to change the basket of South Africa’s exports to China, now dominated by minerals, to include a greater portion of higher value-added manufactured and agricultural products.