Farming remains vitally important to the economy. It is estimated that some 8.5 million people are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their employment and income. It is one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa known for its vast lands and profitable farming opportunities. Agriculture, including forestry and fisheries, is vital to the country’s economy.
Government supports programmes to promote commercially oriented small-scale farming as well as support for smallholders on land acquired through land reform.
Agro-processing is one of the key industries within this sector, spanning the processing of freshwater aquaculture and mariculture, exotic and indigenous meats, nuts, herbs and fruit. It also involves the production and export of deciduous fruit and wine; confectionary manufacturing and export; and the processing of natural fibres from cotton, hemp, sisal, kenaf and pineapple.
The South African agri-food sector has a number of competitive advantages, making it both an important trading partner and a viable investment destination. A world-class infrastructure, counter-seasonality to Europe, vast biodiversity and marine resources, and competitive input costs, make the country a major player in the world’s markets.
Pic: Graeme Williams. LeadDSA