South Africa’s agriculture sector caters for subsistence farming as well as developed commercial based production.
The country’s land covers 1.2 million square meters making it 8 times smaller than the USA and has 7 climatic regions from semi-desert to subtropical to Mediterranean.
The variety of living organisms and a coastline over 2500 kilometers attached to 8 ports, encourages agricultural activity on a diverse range of livestock, fruit, wool, grain and marine products.
A major constraint facing South Africa is the accessibility to water, given the irregular and unpredictable rainfall patterns. Approximately half of the country’s water reserves are used for irrigation of crops and other agricultural purposes.
Activities vary from production of crops and mixed farming in the Winter and Summer rainfall areas to cattle farming in the bushveld and sheep farming in the dryer areas.
Deciduous fruit and citrus fruits are commercially exported including flowers and wines. Maize is most commonly grown as well as sugar cane, wheat, and sunflowers.
The agricultural sector contributes approximately 2% to GDP, a decrease over the past few years suggesting a growth in economy towards secondary and tertiary sectors. Today, farming is recognized as a crucial importance to the economy, providing formal jobs to over 630 000 people.