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Agriculture the “shining star” of 2020

Agriculture was the star economic performer in 2020, showing strong growth while most industries declined.

StatsSA’s quarterly report for the last quarter of 2020 was full of praise for the achievements of the agricultural sector in a year in which the economy declined by 7% as the coronavirus pandemic severely curtailed economic activity.

“Despite the impact of the pandemic on economic growth, there was one shining star in 2020. Agriculture escaped the effects of the pandemic relatively unscathed, expanding production by 13,1% in 2020. Government also grew marginally in the year, up by 0,7%,” StatsSA said.

These were the only two sectors to show growth last year. “All other industries were pummelled. The construction industry, already in deep trouble before the pandemic, contracted by 20,3%. This marks the industry’s fourth consecutive year of economic decline.”

Agricultural production dropped slightly in the final quarter, contributing only 0.2 percentage points to the economy’s 6.3% quarterly growth spurt following a further easing of lockdown restrictions. Nevertheless, that was a growth rate of 5.9%.

With economic growth rising again after the disaster of 2020, we wait to see what 2021 brings.