Farmworkers spent N$85 million in rural economy

The Namibia Agricultural Union says improved agricultural productivity can reduce poverty, enhance the livelihoods of individuals, and grow rural economies.

23 June 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

It is estimated that commercial farmworkers spent at least N$85 million in the rural economy last year.

The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) says it is essential to note that increased farm wages create a demand for basic non-farm products and services in rural areas, leading to a trickle-down effect of more employment opportunities in off-farm enterprises as well.

The union adds that improved agricultural productivity can therefore certainly reduce poverty, enhance the livelihoods of individuals, grow rural economies, and in that positively contribute to the larger economy, given the necessary support required.

The Agricultural Employers’ Association (AEA) conducts a wage survey every second year to determine wage trends in the commercial farming community and assess the social contribution of that sector to the economy.

During the AEA Wage Survey for 2019, 33.6% of the Namibian Agronomic Union (NAU) members responded to the voluntary survey.

The AEA reported that a permanent employee’s total remuneration package had been N$3 413.50 per month per employee in 2017. That increased by 7.2% to N$3 660 per month per employee in 2019, the cash wage being some N$2 366.70.

More jobs

The average number of employees per employer increased over the years, leaving the 2019 figure at about nine employees per employer.

“This increase in the number of employees came about as farmers started producing bush feed to help animals survive the drought, and charcoal production increased drastically,” according to the NAU.

The NAU says that assuming an existence of 4 000 commercial farmers (IPPR – Democracy Report, Feb 2020), it would mean that in 2019 there were about 36 000 employees on commercial farms.

Using a monetary remuneration figure of N$2 366.70 per month, those workers spent at least N$85.2 million in the rural economy.

Furthermore, the 2019 Wage Survey indicated that on average each employee had an estimate of 2.1 dependents, meaning at least 75 600 individuals were taken care of.

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