Media Release: Community Survey 2016, Agricultural Households

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                                        27 January 2017


Community Survey 2016, Agricultural Households 


The number of South African households engaged in agricultural activities decreased between 2011 and 2016. There were 550 000 (19,1%) fewer agricultural households in 2016 (2,33 million) than in 2011 (2,88 million).This decline was mainly due to the drought experienced throughout the country during 2014 and 2015. There has also been a decline of 6,6% in the proportion of households engaging in agricultural activities nationally. A fifth (19,9%) of all households in the country were agricultural households in 2011, this declined to only 13,8% in 2016.


The Eastern Cape had the highest proportion of agricultural households in the country at 27,9% (down from 35,4% in 2011) in 2016; followed by Limpopo with 24,1% (33,0% in 2011) and KwaZulu-Natal with 18,6% (28,2% in 2011). Western Cape and Gauteng recorded the lowest proportions of households engaging in farming activities, with 3,6% (5,2% in 2011) and 4,9% (7,1% in 2011), respectively.

‘Rearing of livestock only’ farming constituted the main form of household agricultural activity in six of the nine provinces, with the three exceptions being Western Cape (27,5%), Free State (31,9%) and Gauteng (18,3%). Nationally, ‘animals only’ and ‘crops only’ farming accounted for 42,9% and 34,6% of households’ engagement  in agriculture respectively.


The main reasons for 81,2% of households’ engagement in agriculture were either as ‘main source of household food’ or ‘extra source of household food’. Agricultural households in Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo were mainly engaged in agricultural activities as ‘extra source of household food’. Households in the rest of the provinces reported ‘main source of household food’ as the main reason for household involvement in agriculture.


The majority of agricultural households (21,5%) were headed by persons within the 45-54 years age group, a little more than half of which were headed by males. Also, a high percentage of agricultural households (18,6%) were headed by individuals who had no schooling. The highest proportion of agricultural household heads recorded with no schooling were in Mpumalanga (26,3%), Limpopo (24,0%) and KwaZulu-Natal (22,7%).


‘Back yard’ (83,8%) was the leading main place of agricultural activity in 2016 nationally, followed by ‘farm land’ (8,7%) and ‘communal land’ (5,0%).  Cattle were the most kept livestock by agricultural households with an estimated 13,9 million nationally; they are followed by sheep (19,5 million), goats (7,8 million) and pigs (1,6 million).




About the report:

The Community Survey 2016: Agricultural households report is the second in a series of reports on South African households engaged in agricultural activities. The first was published in 2013 and presented results based on Census 2011 data. This report presents data collected during Community Survey 2016.

The full report on Agricultural households is available on the Statistics South Africa website:

Issued by Statistics South Africa

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