The South African agricultural industry might be seen by some as simply another role player in the economy, but our farmers cannot be thanked enough for the absolutely necessary work they are doing.
Agriculture contributed more than 2,5% of South Africa’s GDP in 2017 and brought in R127.69 billion through agricultural exports. We remain a fierce competitor in the global market, where South Africa is ranked as one of the top 10 exporting countries for commodities such as citrus, table grapes, pome fruit, maize, wool, stone fruit and subtropical fruit, to name a few.
Agricultural exports increased by 3,9% in 2017, resulting in a positive trade balance of R42.09 billion, and a net exporter status for agricultural commodities. Countries that crave our proudly South African products include the Netherlands (R 11.6 billion), the UK (R 9.7 billion), Hong Kong (R 4.2 billion) and many more.
Livestock are distributed throughout the country with beef cattle more prevalent in the northern parts and dairy cattle in the southern parts of South Africa. Goat producers are also finding themselves in the export market where chevon (goat meat) destinations include Namibia, Hong Kong and Lesotho. Gauteng has the most layer hens in the country, producing 24% of the total egg production in 2016.
Vegetables are exported mainly to Sub-Saharan African countries such as Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and others. Potato farmers are at the top of the log, producing more than 2 million tons of potatoes in 2017, of which more than 1 million tons were sold on the national fresh produce markets.
Exports of South African strawberries are increasing, resulting in a positive trade balance since 2016. Table grapes and citrus are ahead with production figures indicating more than 2 million tons produced in 2017. – Agri SA