Danie van Vuuren, principal officer of the Agricultural Employers’ Association in Namibia, told Farmers’ Weekly that the 25% increase would have a limited impact on farm income and employment levels on commercial farms, as average salaries on commercial farms in 2016 were 41% higher than the new minimum wage.
“The purpose of the agricultural minimum wage is to set an entry-level wage for young farmworkers with no experience,” he said.
The minimum wage for South African farmworkers is due to increase from R16/hour to R18/hour in May next year.
According to Minimum-wage.org, South Africa’s minimum wages rank 68th worldwide, and Namibia’s 122nd out of 197 countries.
To put this in context, European countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands ranked amongst the countries with the highest minimum wages, with incomes in rand value varying between R258/hour and R323/hour respectively.
The US was ranked 7th, with a minimum wage of US$7,25 (R100) per hour.
Zambia was ranked 103rd, with income being determined by category of employment and ranging from 522 400 Zambian kwacha (R760) per month for domestic workers to between 1 132 400 (R1 640) and 2 101 039 (R3 050) Zambian kwacha for general workers.
These wages includes transportation, lunch and housing allowances, and were last increased in July 2012, according to Minimum-wage.org.
Kenya took 106th place, with the minimum wage being determined by location, age and skill level. The lowest wage for unskilled agricultural workers was 2 536 Kenyan shillings (R350) per month, and it was last increased in May 2015.
Rwanda took 113th place with a minimum wage in the agricultural industry ranging between 500 and 1 000 Rwandan francs (R8 to R17) per day. The wage was last increased in January 2013.
Minimum-wage.org does not provide income figures for Zimbabwe. However, news reports confirm that the minimum wage for farmworkers was increased by 4,2% in June, resulting in the lowest-paid workers earning US$75 (R1 100) per month and the highest-paid workers earning US$150 (R2 150) per month.
The country is ranked 122th out of 197, at the same level as Angola, which has a minimum wage of 15 003 kwanzas (R1 300) per month.