Agriculture in South Africa remains an important sector despite its relatively small contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP). The sector plays an important role in terms of job creation, especially in rural areas, but is also a foremost earner of foreign exchange.
Agriculture’s prominent indirect role in the economy is a result of backward and forward linkages with other sectors. Purchases of intermediate goods and services form backward linkages with the manufacturing sector, while forward linkages are established through the supply of raw materials to industry.
Approximately 70% of agricultural output is used as intermediate products. Agriculture is therefore a crucial sector and a key driver of growth for the rest of the economy – a fact also acknowledged in policy-related documents such as the National Development Plan 2030.
Essentially the Development Plan entails that agriculture – both emerging and commercial – should still be afforded the opportunity to contribute optimally to economic growth, job creation, foreign exchange earnings and development of the industrial sector within a safe and non-discriminatory environment.
Due to an unacceptable level of crime and violence in rural areas, Agri SA is preoccupied with ensuring a safe environment for all people involved in the agricultural sector. A sound working relationship has been established with the SAPS at both policy and operational level with a view of addressing the relevant rural safety problems..