In his state of the nation address last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa identified three labour-intensive sectors for targeted growth: agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. This strategy was built on by finance minister Tito Mboweni in his August 2019 economic strategy document, aimed at growing agricultural exports by R6bn in the next 10 years.
These ambitious targets are precisely what the industry needs. The blueberry industry, for example, grew export revenue tenfold to R1bn from 2013 to 2018, and jobs from 1,000 to 8,000 over the same period. And we can grow these numbers exponentially in future. Access for high value crops such as blueberries to growing Eastern markets will be a major win for this administration and the economy.
The government needs to fast-track the processing of export protocols and boost the department of agriculture’s trade promotion and market access budget if we are going to see a return on investment in jobs and growth for the economy.