These goods drive South African agriculture

In an interview with Yahoo! News, Spanish-American chef and activist José Andrés said it best: “Food is health. Food is national security. Food is job creation. Food is economic growth.” 1

Agriculture plays a crucial role in food security, supplying the basic products that keep millions of people fed every day. In South Africa, the industry produces a variety of products, from beef and poultry to maize, fruit and vegetables.

The graphic below, based on Stats SA’s recently released agriculture survey, provides an overview of the most popular products and goods in the agriculture and related services industry, according to sales data.

Almost half of total sales were generated from animals and animal products in 2019, with cattle accounting for 16% (click on the image to enlarge).




Poultry is also an important source of income. Not only does the agriculture industry depend on the sale of live chickens (accounting for 5% of total sales), but it also generates income from chicken meat (10%) and eggs (4%).

If you add these together, the total value of sales related to chicken products (R58,1 billion) is not that far from the total recorded by the entire field crop sector (R61,9 billion).

Horticulture production, which is concentrated in the provinces of Western Cape and Limpopo, generated just over a quarter of total sales. Fruit (including grapes) and vegetables accounted for 23% of total sales and 85% of horticulture sales.

The Agriculture Survey, which covers the activities of commercial farms that are registered for value added tax (VAT), provides a rich overview of the finances of the agriculture industry, including data on income, spending and employment. The survey includes enterprises that are involved in the production of crops, horticulture products, animals and fertilisers. The survey, however, excludes forestry and logging activities, fishing, and fish farms.

For more information, download the Agriculture Survey, 2019 report here.

1 Watch the interview here.

Similar articles are available on the Stats SA website and can be accessed here.

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