Evolving needs of agri-workers

Evolving needs of agri-workers

Technology is no longer a “nice to have” for agricultural enterprises. From operations at farm level to the businesses involved in supply, processing and distribution, and even co-operatives, the pandemic has demonstrated that the efficiencies technology brings are necessary for business survival.

“The idea of NAMPO Harvest Day 2020 being held via an online virtual platform could hardly have been conceived 20 years ago,” says Dr Kobus Laubscher, agricultural economist and independent consultant to Agility Agri. “Digital integration is becoming an absolute necessity, and the workforce is diversifying to include more skilled individuals who add considerable value to agricultural processes.”

He adds that most farming and associated businesses and services are, and will almost certainly remain, labour intensive. “New technology and the people operating it are unlocking greater productivity from the land and helping to make agriculture, and the much-needed jobs it creates, more sustainable.”

This enhanced efficiency, he says, is integral to maintaining local competitiveness in a global market and supporting the national economy. “As ever, our food security and agricultural productivity are only as strong as the people who power it.”

He adds that every productive hour counts, now more than ever, for agriculture-related businesses, and human capital risk management has increased in strategic importance. “When time is money and staff members are reliant on public healthcare, unfortunately, this tends to hold up production.”

Laubscher points out that today if an employee is unwell and has access to private primary healthcare, there is often an opportunity to identify and treat underlying health conditions, thus preventing further or more severe complications from developing. The same could be said for a range of psycho-social difficulties, and even legal and financial problems, which can also take a toll on staff members’ productivity.

Enter Agility Agri – an integrated health, employee benefits, wellbeing and rewards solution specifically developed for agricultural organisations. In addition to cover available through 10 Health Squared Medical Scheme benefit options, various affordable and flexible alternatives for healthcare are available through the Agility Agri solution. This single point of contact takes care of employers’ complete human capital risk management needs, including occupational health and healthcare provision for lower income employees, through a network of primary healthcare providers (doctors, dentists, and optometrists).

Preventive care and productivity management are also offered through the Agility Employee Wellbeing Programme, whereby Agility Agri helps to proactively identify and manage employee well-being challenges. The core programme is free of charge to employers belonging to Health Squared and includes telephonic counselling to provide stress management and psycho-social support, coupled with health, financial and legal advice where needed.

“For the best chance of making up for several lean years, agriculture will need to harness technology and optimise the well-being of human capital to take full advantage of each opportunity for growth,” Laubscher concludes.

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