Short-term pain for producers and long-term gains for the economy are in store if farm workers get the proposed increases to their national minimum wage, an economist says.
But farmers, divided by interests on opposite sides of the economy, want government to deal with the land question as well as inequality.
Over the weekend, the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union called for the rapid implementation of increases in the minimum wage for farm and other workers in South Africa.
In November, the National Minimum Wage Commission had proposed that an adjustment be made to lift the minimum wage for farm workers this year, to equal that applicable to other workers, and the same be phased in for domestic workers next year.
According to economics professor at the University of Johannesburg, Dr Peter Baur, lower demand and sales in restaurants and other food traders could impact pricing in the entire value chain, which could already be impacting farmers.
Fruit and grain producers were also hard hit by the drop in demand for certain products.
Civil rights group AfriForum chief executive officer Ernst Roets said the group was not opposed to higher wages for farm workers, but expressed concern that farmers already faced policy uncertainty and likely could not afford higher wag
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