16 November 2012

Namibia: Farm Workers? Wages Reach 10-Year High, Says NAU

Windhoek — Commercial farmers say the wages and salaries of farm workers have increased 11 percent since 2010 and only 2 percent of employees in the sector are still receiving cash wages below the gazetted minimum hourly rate of N$2.87 per hour.

The Agricultural Employers Association of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) made the announcement yesterday at its presentation of the annual Wage Survey for 2012.

The survey reveals that 28 percent of farm workers earn between N$4 and N$4.99 per hour, while 26 percent earn between N$3 and N$3.99 per hour.

About 13 percent of all farm workers in the country receive more than N$7 per hour, while 16 percent earn between N$5 and N$5.99, and a further 9 percent pocket between N$6 and N$6.99 per hour. The document compares the current average N$5.17 hourly rate to the average N$2.28 hour rate of 2000.

The new survey shows that farm workers who earn the highest hourly rate take home an average cash wage of N$964.01 per month, said the chairman of the Agriculture Employers Association, Hellmut Fortsch, at the launch of the document in Windhoek yesterday.

The findings are based on 471 responses out of 2109 questionnaires sent to members of the NAU, which in effect means only about 23 percent of the members responded.

Fortsch nevertheless said the association is satisfied that the percentage of respondents "is a true reflection of the wage situation on farms," since participation has never been higher than 38.42 percent of the members since the survey first started in 1996.

Fortsch stressed that participation in the survey is not compulsory, and that could account for the low percentage participation. Although he could not supply exact figures, he did confirm that between 20 and 100 emerging farmers also took part in the survey. The wage survey represents data of 3 250 employees and pensioners.

Temporary workers made up for 236 male and 80 female participants with 26 male and 4 female pensioners taking part in the survey.

The survey also pointed out that farms with large stock, game, guest and hunting activities employ larger numbers of workers, about 10.7 percent, while farms with large stock and dry land agronomy, represented the highest figure of 11.42 percent per unit.

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