Agriculture can help S. Africa tackle unemployment: former finance minister

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-05 04:00:07|Editor: yan
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by Prince Moyo

JOHANNESBURG, July 4 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said Tuesday that the country's agriculture sector is "neglected" while it has potential to create much-need jobs and grow the economy.

Gordhan said agriculture can help South Africa solve its unemployment crisis that needs to be "dealt with intensity."

Speaking at the Agribusiness Africa Conference, an event that attracted more than 150 farmers from across the country in Johannesburg, Gordhan said South Africa's unemployment numbers are "shocking and embarrassing."

"Agriculture which is an important sector of the economy in South Africa is a neglected but there is huge opportunity available to create jobs and food security and is core as far as Africa agenda is concerned," Gordhan said.

The senior politician urged local farmers to be "risk takers" and increase investments in the home-territory before considering other markets.

Gordhan urged the farming sector to be proactive and participate in national economic and political issues rather than watching from the side-lines. He said agriculture has a key role to play on closing the inequity gap in South Africa.

Asked about his view on the ongoing 5th national policy conference of the ruling party African National Congress (ANC), the ANC veteran remained evasive saying "we all hope it will end on constructive note."

South African President Jacob Zuma in March axed Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle.