"Agri-sector Unity Forum (ASUF), as representative of all major agricultural unions, has noted with disappointment the announcement by the Minister of Labour, Minister Mildred Oliphant, that a sectoral determination for agriculture of R105 per day would be instituted as from March 2013," Ntombi Msimang, chairman of ASUF said.
"This sectoral determination represents an increase of over 50% on the current minimum wage and for most farming enterprises this will be unaffordable. It is especially the enterprises of smaller scale and developing farmers that are now being placed under undue and unmanageable risk."
It is clear that independent research reports and the input provided by ASUF to the Employment Conditions Commission were not duly considered. "The consequences of this sectoral determination will be retrenchments and reduced employment in the sector, hugely undermined competitiveness of various labour intensive subsectors, and much higher food prices for consumers," said Msimang. Coupled with higher electricity and input costs, especially in terms of administered pricing of inputs, it is clear that food security in South Africa is being put at serious risk.