Agricultural Production, Employment and Gender Vulnerability: Covid-19 Implications

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South Africa responded to the Covid-19 outbreak by implementing a national lockdown aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus. While numerous businesses closed down, leading to mass job losses, essential services, including agriculture, remained open. Agriculture, a predominantly rural/peri-urban economic activity, supports the livelihoods of vulnerable groups such as women and the youth. The sector’s contribution to South Africa’s output, however, is not only modest but also declining. This paper investigates the relationship between production and employment in agriculture disaggregated by gender within the short and long run. Estimations of a growth model of agricultural production using quarterly data from 2008:Q1 to 2019:Q1 show that in the short run, an increase in aggregate labour has a positive effect on agricultural production. Separating aggregate labour into male and female labour, we observe that in the short run, male labour has a positive effect while female labour has an insignificant effect on agricultural production. The estimation results further indicate that, in the long run, aggregate labour employed in the agricultural sector makes a negative contribution to agricultural production. This finding is mirrored by the contribution of male and female labour separately, to agricultural production, which is also negative and significant.

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How to Cite
NGALAWA, H., & DERERA, E. (2020). Agricultural Production, Employment and Gender Vulnerability: Covid-19 Implications. African Journal of Governance & Development, 9(1.1), 200-225. Retrieved from
Author Biography

EVELYN DERERA, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Evelyn Derera is a senior lecturer in the School of Management, IT & Governance at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Over the years, she has served as Academic Leader for the discipline of Management and entrepreneurship; program manager for the Postgraduate Diploma in Management for Self-Funded Teaching Programmes at UKZN Pietermaritzburg Campus; and academic development officer. Evelyn holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship from UKZN. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, particularly the role of women entrepreneurs in developing nations. She has also published in the area of social and youth entrepreneurship. Evelyn also holds a Diploma in Banking from the Institute of Bankers of Zimbabwe. Before joining the academia, she worked in the banking sector in Zimbabwe where she held several positions including Customer Relationship Manager in Private Banking. Her financial sector experience spans over ten years.