Agriculture, forestry and land

The total contribution of agriculture into the economy increased from R27 billion in 2001 to R36 billion in 2007. The total gross value of agricultural production for 2007/08 is estimated at R111 760 million compared to R93 390 million the previous year.

South Africa has a dual agricultural economy: a well-developed commercial sector and a predominantly subsistence sector. About 12% of the country can be used for crop production. High-potential arable land comprises only 22% of total arable land. Some 1.3 million hectares (ha) are under irrigation. Agricultural activities range from intensive crop production and mixed farming to cattle ranching in the bushveld, and sheep farming in the more arid regions.

Economic contribution

Primary agriculture contributes about 2.5% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of South Africa and about 8% to formal employment.  However, there are strong linkages into the economy, so that the agro-industrial sector comprises about 12% of GDP.  Although South Africa has the ability to be self-sufficient in virtually all major agricultural products, the rate of growth in exports has been slower than that of imports. The only increase in agricultural export volumes occurred during the period of exchange-rate depreciation in 2002 and came to about nine million tons (mt). Major import products include wheat, rice, vegetable oils and poultry meat.


Producer prices of agricultural products increased, on average, by 24.9% from 2006 to 2007, compared to an increase of 17.9% during the previous year.  In 2007, the producer prices of field crops rose by 41.9%, against an increase of 32.4% the previous year. This increase was mainly the result of a 44.7% increase in the price of summer grains and increases of 90.4% and 51.9% in the prices of winter cereals and dry beans, respectively.  Producer prices of horticultural products increased by 20.6% in 2007 compared to 2006. Prices of vegetables increased, on average, by 20.6% during 2007, while the prices of fresh fruit increased by 27.7%.

The producer prices of animal products were 14.5% higher in 2007 than in 2006. Prices received for pastoral products increased by 29.9%. The price farmers received for milk was 33.8% higher.  Prices received for poultry products rose by 13%.

Field crops and horticulture

Maize is the largest locally produced field crop and the most important source of carbohydrates in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for animal and human consumption. South Africa is the main maize producer in the SADC region, with an average production of about 8.9 mt a year over the past 10 years.

It is estimated that more than 8 000 commercial maize producers are responsible for the major part of the South African crop, while the rest is produced by thousands of small-scale producers.  Maize is produced mainly in North West, the Free State and Mpumalanga.  A total of 6.9 mt of maize was produced in 2006/07 on two million hectares of land (developing agriculture included).

  • Wheat is produced in the Western Cape and the Free State.  Average wheat production has totalled about 2 mt a year over the past 10 years.
  • South Africa is the world’s 12th-largest producer of sunflower seed. An area of 316 350 ha was planted in 2006/07, producing 300 000 mt.
  • Some 20 mt of sugar are produced per season.  About 50% of this is marketed in southern Africa, while the rest is exported to markets in Africa, the Middle East, North America and Asia.
  • South Africa is the leading exporter of protea cut flowers, which account for more than half of proteas sold on the world market.
Some other crops:
  • Deciduous fruit is grown mainly in the Western Cape and in the Langkloof Valley in the Eastern Cape. Smaller production areas are found along the Orange River and in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
  • In 2007/08, income from deciduous fruit rose by 10.6% to R6 425 million.
  • In 2007/08, the gross income from horticultural products increased by 16.8% to R27 408 million.
  • The gross value of subtropical fruit rose by 11.3% to R1 818 million.
  • Internationally, South Africa’s wines are highly competitive, with the industry showing a sustainable and increasingly positive trend over recent years. The wine industry contributes some R163 billion a year to South Africa’s GDP and employs 257 000 people directly and indirectly, while an additional R4.2 billion is generated annually through wine tourism. The area planted under wine grapes has increased constantly since 1990, and totalled 101 958 ha in 2007. The 2007 harvest amounted to 1 351 447 t.
  • In April 2008, the South African Wine Industry Information and Systems estimated the 2008 wine and grape crop at 776 litres per gross ton.   In 2007/08, income from viticulture increased by 5.4% to R2 974 million.
  • Citrus production is largely limited to irrigation areas and takes place in Limpopo (16 255 ha), Mpumalanga (11 681 ha), the Eastern Cape (12 923 ha), KwaZulu-Natal (4 004 ha), the Western Cape (9 524 ha) and Northern Cape (639 ha). A total of 2.2 mt of citrus were produced in 2006/07, which was a 10% increase compared to 2005/06. In 2007/08, income from citrus showed the biggest increase of 35% and amounted to R5 318 million.
  • Pineapples are grown in the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal.  Other subtropical crops such as avocados, mangoes, bananas, litchis, guavas, papayas, granadillas, and macadamia and pecan nuts are produced mainly in Mpumalanga and Limpopo and in the subtropical coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.


Nearly 80% of agricultural land in South Africa is mainly suitable for extensive livestock farming.  Livestock are also kept in other areas, usually in combination with other farming enterprises. Numbers vary according to weather conditions. Stockbreeders concentrate mainly on developing breeds that are well adapted to diverse weather and environmental conditions. The livestock sector contributes up to 49% of agricultural output. By mid-2007, there were 13.5 million cattle, 24.9 million sheep and 6.4 million goats.  South Africa normally produces 85% of its meat requirements, while 15% is imported from Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Food security

The Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Programme aims to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity by 2015.  By May 2008, through the Household Food Production Programme, 15 765 food-production packages had been distributed and 6 390 vegetable gardens established. Through the Farmer Support Programme, 903 clients received Micro-Agricultural Financial Institutions of South Africa loans and R8.5 million was disbursed between January and March 2008.

Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa (Land Bank)

The bank provides a comprehensive range of retail and wholesale financial products and services designed to meet the needs of commercial and developing farmers and agriculture-related businesses.


South Africa has developed one of the largest planted forests in the world.  Plantations cover about 1.3 million ha of South Africa’s land surface. Production from these plantations amounted to more than 22 million m3 of commercial roundwood, valued at almost R5.1 billion. Together with processed wood products, total turnover for the industry was about R15 billion in 2006, including R6.8 billion worth of wood-pulp.  The forestry sector employs close to 170 000 people and contributes more than R16 billion to the South African economy. The impact of the sector is felt in rural areas and there is significant scope for forestry to expand and contribute towards uplifting those in the Second Economy.

Indigenous forests

There are about 530 000 ha of indigenous or natural forests in the country, which occur mainly along the southern and eastern escarpment, the coastal belt and in sheltered kloofs or ravines.  There has been an increase in the use of natural forests as sources of medicine, building material, fuel wood and food. It is estimated that around 80% of South Africa’s population still uses medicinal plants, most of which are sourced from natural habitats.

South Africa has a detailed inventory of all its natural forests, which is used to accurately monitor changes in forest areas. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has completed a classification of natural forests, represented by 24 broad forest types.  The Natural Forests Protected Areas System guides the setting aside and redemarcation of natural forests as protected areas.

Restructuring the forests

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is pursuing a restructuring programme in the forestry sector, which will eventually see the department becoming a sector leader and regulator of forestry in South Africa.

Land affairs

The Department of Land Affairs responsibilities include deeds registration, surveys and mapping, cadastral surveys, spatial planning and land reform.  A project to upgrade townships surveyed under the apartheid government has made it possible for thousands of people to register properties as freehold, where previously they held lesser rights.  The Chief Directorate: Surveys and Mapping manages the national control survey network, which provides a unique, highly accurate positioning system across South Africa.  The 1:50 000 topographical map series is the largest scale map series, providing full coverage of South Africa.  The popular large-scale 1:10 000 orthophoto map series provides coverage of predominantly built-up areas, areas of economic importance and areas experiencing rapid development. The Chief Directorate: Deeds Registration aims to maintain a public register of land, as well as an efficient system of registration aimed at affording security of title to land and rights to land.

Land reform

The Department of Land Affairs aims to be a global leader in the creation and maintenance of an equitable and sustainable land dispensation that results in social and economic development for all South Africans.  The departments key focus is on providing enhanced land rights to all South Africans, with particular emphasis on previously disadvantaged individuals, which will result in increased income levels and job opportunities, productive land use and well-planned human settlements.  South Africa’s land reform is premised on three programmes:  land-tenure reform, redistribution and restitution.  While the Department of Land Affairs implements land-tenure reform and redistribution, the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights (CRLR) implements the restitution programme. The department has four branches, namely Land and Tenure Reform, Restitution, Land Planning and Information, and Financial Management and Corporate Services.

Land restitution

The CRLR is a statutory body set up in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994, as amended. The role of the commission is to provide redress to victims of dispossession of rights in land, as a result of racially discriminatory laws and practices that took place after 1913.  The commission is led by the Chief Land Claims Commissioner and has nine regional offices headed by regional land claims commissioners.  By the end of 2007/08, 74 747 claims had been settled, involving more than 1.4 million beneficiaries.

  • Soil

    Check the
     DAFF website, they publish abstract of agricultural stats that may be useful

  • Nthabisengmatome

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    This is to announce to the general public that Halifax now provides
    Loans,BG,SBLC,MTN,POF,LC,Project Funding,Letter of credit,
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    (Credit/ Operations Director)
    Halifax Bank Plc
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    London– United Kingdom.

  • Thabani Dube

    Hi Jgreeff, I am Thabani Dube living in Newcastle KZN. I am in the process of starting a poultry business. I am busy doing a business plan for funding purposes. I have done extensive research but still need guidance in finalising the business plan. If you are able to forward me your email address of contact details so I can contact you.

  • Reginald Sekei

    I need info. on Goverment assistance to acquire a loan to purchase a farm worth 400ha.
    The farm will be used for Live stock production.

  • Siphugu steven

    hi guys
    i am currently doing animal production ( animal science ) i want to know how to market job after i complete it.. and as new person in the field is it possible start my new farm or does it require me to work for government or non-governmental organizations before i could think of my own farm? and where do i get help or starter for that particular farm. how much does it require from me to start it? 
    your advice will be highly appreciate 
    my email address is

  • Yehheni

    hi guys
    Please help me identify a sustainable farming enterprise around KZN or Mpumalanga in South Africa. i need a case study to illustrate an economically viable, socially sound and environmentally friendly (sustainable) farming. obvious it has to be an organic farm with multienterprises for achieving satisfactory gross margins

  • Nolulamo

    MR  GEEF
    i am  female farmer on the eastern cape . i farm broiler chicks and chickens which i sell to small traders and hawkers. i would appreciate your advice on how to stay successfull in this business. do you know where i can get funding for my business? thank you

  • Marlo Clase

    hallo there. a friend of mine from NL is looking for a farm that can be made viable, eco friendly and sustainable. hes has experience in animals, beef and milk, but would not mind doing something els. he has shown interest in bio fuels aswell. western and eastern cape would be ideal. can anyone outhere help me please. what are good land prices to pay? help

  • Vishalmohanlal

    Hi Suresh, where in India are you from.
    Email me vishalmohanlal@yahoo:disqus  .com

  • Pamo

    Hey Nthabi
    Land Bank has various financial packages available, visit the website

  • Nhplett

    Hi … are you still looking? Please mail me at i have many gorgeous farms for you to choose from

  • Mushamulat

    how can i get the bursary?

  • sam.jir

    I stand on my feet that, Good-luck will not be able to rule this country with his governor's in PDP. Because,the government of PDP  is a tyranny-government, which they believe in sharing money and building mansion in south-Africa.And even allowing our university to go on strike.

  • Mark

    Hi guys

    I would like to know how i can get government assistance in either purchasing or leasing a farm.I would like to get involve in live stock farming.
    My email is

  • Zeldas

    I have a plot on the North Coast of KZN which I’d like to start goat farming. How do I get funding?

  • Zeldas

    Hi Gerald

    Contact Geraldine on 0837835920, Ben on 0823698602.


  • Kg Ramphela

    hi im kagiso ramphela im looking for a potatoe supplier in balk as will be working under an npo if you now one or you have a farm of potatoes pls drop me an email at contact 078 508 7595 your help will be highly appreciated

  • P.G

    does anyone knw where i can get fast moving goods(rice and oil etc.) that are easy to store in durban,must be in bulk and cheap…..reply to

  • Ede erdely

    Hello interested Job Seekers,

    I am Ede Erdely of the Immigrant Department of London Chambers of Commerce . I am the Public Relations officer,i write to invite  job Seekers of our On-going Immigrant Visa program  tagged Live and Work in London.

    This program provides job opportunity for 30 immigrant job seekers ranging from Asia, Europe,Africa and Americans here in London .

    This is the 3rd of its Kind since its inception in 2004.if you are interested kindly write back to this office so that I can intimate you more about the programs and the qualifications required.
    Sincerely Yours

    Mr Gerald Smith PR (Immigrant Visa Department London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    my private box:

  • munyua

    Hi Mr smith, iam in kenya iam i eligible to enter the program.

    Regrds Simon.


  • Phathu

    hi Brain. i also have a farm in Limpopo. can you advice me on the market for cash crops. i was looking at Pepper or potatoes. you can e-mail me @ or 0795274901

  • Phathu

    hi there. i am a young farmer in Limpopo. i specialise in cash crops. especially Pepper, spanspek, potatoes, butternut etc. i am looking for a supplier i can directly plan my products for. we can get into an arrangement about the quantity and specific crop. i also welcome any advice on the possible market for my products.


  • Viswa_sai2000

    i want invest money for long lease. we need lands for paddy development.which place is good  for us.

  • v.s.prasad

    we are amb agro agencies india. we want land for lease for 30 years. about 1000hectatrs.we develop paddy,sugarcane,pulses.we want to invest money. what is the government policy.we are from india south side.our place known as bowel of rice.
    my e-mail  ,viswasai2000@gmail:disqus .com

  • Sphelele Gwamanda

    i need funding for my poultry farming and vegetable farming project.

  • Susan

    Contact me Phathu – post your email adress here

  • Susan

    Landbank have launched a new product called REM – as long as you have access to land and can borrow as an idividual – depending on what you do, you can access funding up to R1mil at preferential interest rates between 3 – 5%.  There are conditions but this is the first time that ven people in tribal trustland areas can access finance – good luck!

  • Tmalatsi

    Hi Mat! I have access of 20 thousand hectors of agricultural land in the North West Province, ready for agricultural projects. Tell me what do you want to do and how is it going to be marketed. Please provide more info and we could get in to business.

  • Tmalatsi

    Dear Shiva! According to my knowledge the government of South Africa is not leasing land. However you could negotiate with local communities and tribal authorities that have lots of land. I recently negotiated 20 thousand hectors of land for agricultural purposes. My interest is to get Indian companies that can invest for any crop farming and inreturn market the product in India or any where in the world.

  • Sasadfaawdf

    how do the people there adapt to their  surroundings?

  • Nonhlanhla Nkosi

    hi there my name is nonhlanhla want to get into farming industry but i battle to find the right partners. i’m in Mpumalanga Piet Retief.PLEASE ADVISE AND I I  WILL NEEDING MORE INFORMATION.

    CELL 0720107975 E-MAIL:

  • Popesfarm

    Dear  Agriculture,
    Forestry, Land and Readers.

    We are currently looking for a buyer to buy a
    piece of our beautiful farm in the Free State Province our town Boshof,
    although Kimberley in the Northern Cape is only 40km from the farm. The farm
    is  3200 ha +-  and our price per ha is R 5 000. It may sound
    like a lot but this piece of land has a lot of potential. The farm is excellent
    for Wild life, seeing that this area of farms is very popular under Hunters and
    Tourists. The Hunting and Tourist rates is growing every year. The farm is also
     a good area  for Cattle and Sheep. This farm is only land
    and doesn’t consist of any residential. So it is good for Farming or if you want
    to start a Lodge or Safari business.

    Please Note that we are urgently looking for a
    buyer!!! We have to sell this beautiful farm because of financial reasons. If anybody
    want more information and photo’s of the farm please contact Douglas Pope at
    078 372 3404 or E-mail me  Thank you.       

  • Popesfarm

    I am sorry for the wrong information about the
    amount of ha in my former comment. The farm consists of  2582 ha. Thank you. 

  • RefilweM

    apply for mafisa loan from department of agriculture but through one of the financial institutions disbursing those funds

  • Bgshongwe

     Hi Nonhlanhla

    Finding the right partner is actually the bigest challenge in Agri, but we as the dept of Agric in mpumalanga are working on a programme that aim at geting strategic partners for our farmers , do u have land? if not what is it do  u will be bring into any partnership

    If u rely interested contact me at +27 13 766 6038

  • Bgshongwe

     Hi sir

    If u are rely interested in investing money in agric

    I am in contact with a number of farmers in Mpumalananga , u can give me a call at +27 13 766 6038 or +82 253 2375 , i have visited India last year decemeber 2011 , Bangalore , Please we only need invested not people who want money from government or the farmers

  • Siyabonga Masango

    I am a young man looking to enter into farming and at the current moment i do not know any thing about the trade so if anyone has any information please reply through

  • Nmbave

    Hi Bgshongwe

    I also interested in farming and would like to start one in Gauteng. So i would to know who do i contact here in Gauteng.

  • Edrabile

    hi iam interested in starting a hatchery, where can I sell the eggs?? where do i buy fertilised eggs??
    please help

  • Edrabile

    Hi everyone i live in the pretoria area, iam interested in starting a hatchery, where can i get fertilised eggs, and sell the day old chicks??

  • Agc rohrbeck

    Good day,

    I have a good concept in farming and need land in the Tzaneen area as well as funding to start a concept in farming that will create between 20 to 300 jobs in a term of 3 years, I am white but would like to get involved in training and assisting black farmers in making a sucess in this specific product, I am interested in a patener ship either with the goverment or an induvidual, as this concept and product is starting to be highly sought after, there are very few farms in South africa that is working with this product and I would like to begin this on a big scale, but does not have the capital recourses to do. if any person or organasation can assist.Please contact me only if you are serious about my concept and are intresting in making me an offer or partnership deal or financing in what I want to me on

  • Gerhardt Naude

    Please send me more info.

  • Taletsi


    would very much like to start this business with you,we can apply for funding at various funding institution.0745738183 015 295 9115


  • Nandi

     Hi Sir
    My name is Nandi, I stay in Kwamhlanga. I’m looking for an agricultural land to do chicken farming. I have went numerous times to DARDLA at Kwamhlanga Government Complex with no joy. Would you be able to assist me or refer me to someone who will be able to assist.


  • Nnana

    Good day
    I’m interested in essential oil farming have knowledge and expirience, reseached about the market and sure that this is a viable agricltural commodity. I’m in need of an agricultural land of about 40hectares where I’ll be able to have a nursery to propagate seedlings a 2hectare fo rmother plant block and the rest for crop production. I need to know how I can access goverment grants to start such business.

  • Keorapetse11

    to tell you the truth, our government is not eefective in funding starters at all, they will move you from pillar to post till you get tired and loose morale. So my best bet would be start with ur own small capital even if the operation is just small and then you can attract the finacier from other banks

  • Simphiwe Nxumalo

    Hi my name is simphiwe im studying Agricultural Management @ saasveld NMMU Im looking for 12 months Practical Job in any kind of agriculture organisation to get experience plz help i need it to get my Diploma.

  • PaydayLoans

    financial companies are also providing property loans to those who want to property qualities and structures that will offer as the assumption of their business. Regardless of the form of professional funding you plan to get, it is crucial to be advised of the different loan companies in the market and the kinds of professional funding they are providing. 

  • Dasilva aminu

    I am a
    dealer in fruits namely apples ;peas and grapes.I will highly appreciate any
    form of partnership with any fruit farmer or grower of fruits from any part of
    the world especially south Africa as I hope being a long time representative
    partner to you to help facilitate the increase of my clientele demand here in
    West Africa.

    With my renowned
    experience hoping that I could be representative and do business that will
    benefit both parties in sales output.
    Contact details  ;;


    Mr. Jose.