One of the most important aspects of a country’s Economy is its agricultural sector. It shapes a large part of its landscape and income. South Africa’s agriculture is relatively well diversified compared to other southern African countries. The South African agricultural sector is one of the most developed on the African continent and increasingly for export.
While the agricultural sector contributes 3% of GDP, it employs around 7% of the labor force. If we take into account the total value of the existing production chain around agriculture, its contribution to overall GDP amounts to 12%. The South African agricultural sector is diversified, ranging from fruit and vegetable growing to cattle breeding in the Highveld and sheep farming in the more arid regions.
According to FAOSTAT (statistical organ of the Food and Agriculture Organization), South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers of chicory roots (4th); Grapefruit (4th); Cereals (5th); Green corn and yellow corn (7th); Castor oil seeds (9th); Pears (9th) and Sisal (10th). The dairy industry is made up of approximately 4,300 dairy farmers who provide employment for 60,000 farm workers and indirectly contribute to the quality of life of approximately 40,000 others.
Here, we take a look at the most important Crops in South Africa which contributes to its Export
Cereal and grain farming
Cereals and grains are the most important crops grown in South Africa and contributes in large quarters to their annual income. It occupies more than 60% of total hectares with corn serving as a source of export and feed. Thanks to several government programs, the agricultural sector in South Africa has really improved. There are several programs in place to support small scale farmers and they include loan for crop sustainability as well as farming machinery.
Wheat production has also increased by large margins in the last few years. The process is more mechanized since the coming of better machines and farm equipment. Wheat farming extends from the Western Cape where rainfall is relatively regular in the Free State which is designed mainly in response to growing consumer demand. However, wheat harvest volumes vary considerably by year depending on the amount of rainfall.
Beans and Nuts
Aside Cereal and Grains, South Africa is also a big player in terms of production of beans, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. The rate of production may not be as large as that of grains but year after year the numbers seems to be increasing. Due to certain factors, the annual production seems to be inconsistent and just enough to meet the domestic needs of the country.
Fruit farming and viticulture
The demand for wine in the foreign market has increased. South Africa is one of the most important producers of grapes processed for wine in Africa. Regular fruits like banana, orange and apple are popular in the western regions due to climatic factors which supports the plant growth.
From studies, wine and fruit export accounts for 40% of the total earnings generated from agricultural export in the last decades.
Unlike grapes, pineapple is more concentrated in the eastern cape in contrast to Apples grown in the western region. Mangos and other tropical fruits are grown in the coastal areas as well as in the northeast. Over 50% of the total citrus harvested are exported on most occasions.