April 6, 2020
STATS SA has published the results of a commercial agriculture census carried out in 2017/18.
The report was made public last Tuesday and highlights the latest demographic and crop trends in South Africa.
The objective of the census was to collect quantitative information on South Africa’s commercial agriculture that is essential for planning, policy formulation and food security.
Visiting commercial farms across the country, Stats SA collected a wealth of data on production, finances, employment and land use.
The total number of farms/farming units involved in the commercial agriculture sector was 40 122.
The largest number of farms were involved in livestock production (33.9%).
This was followed by mixed farming (31.1%) and growing of cereals and other crops (21.3%).
The proportion of farms in mixed farming increased by 8.4% since the last census in 2007, while the number of farms growing cereals and other crops decreased by 13% over the same period.
The province with the highest number of farms in 2017 was Free State, with 7 951 farms or 19.8% of the national total, followed by Western Cape (6 937 or 17.3%), North West (4 920 or 12.3%) and Northern Cape (4 829 or 12%).
The provinces with the lowest number of farms in 2017 were Gauteng (2 291 or 5.7%), Mpumalanga (2 823 or 7.0%) and Limpopo (3 054 or 7.6%).
Total income in the commercial agriculture industry was R332,8-billion, 288% higher than the R85.9-billion recorded in 2007.
That, the major contributor was farming of animals (R120.8-billion or 36.2%), followed by mixed farming (R95-billion or 28.6%) and horticulture (R65.7-billion or 19.8%).
The province contributing the most to total income in 2017 was the Western Cape (R64.3-billion or 19.3%), followed by Free State (R46.9-billion or 14.1%), North West (R39.7-billion or 11.9%), Mpumalanga (R38.4-billion or 11.6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (R34-billion or 10.2%).
As on 30 June 2018, 757 628 people were employed in the sector, which is down from 769 594 in 28 February, 2007 (–1,6%).
The major commercial agriculture activity in 2017 was horticulture (268 740 employees or 35.5% of the total), followed by mixed farming (185 863 or 24.5%) and farming of animals (162 116 or 21.4%).
Western Cape was by far the largest provincial employer in 2018 (186 997 employees or 24.7% of the national total), followed by Limpopo (97 478 or 12.9%) and KwaZulu-Natal (96 206 or 12.7%).
As can be expected, the provinces with the lowest number of commercial agriculture employees were Gauteng (36 517 or 4.8%) and North West (57 758 or 7.6%).
* If a natural disaster happened in Gauteng’s West Rand district, 31% of the nation’s carrot crop would be at risk.
* Sheep in the Pixley ka Seme district (Northern Cape) outnumber people six-to-one.
* Tshwane (Gauteng) sold one in every five chickens nationwide.
* The Sarah Baartman district (Eastern Cape) sold 39% of South Africa’s goats.
* Bojanala Platinum district (North West) produced 44% of the nation’s beetroot.
* Ehlanzeni (Mpumalanga) produced 67% of South Africa’s bananas and 57% of macadamia nut production.
* Overberg (Western Cape) produced 40% of all our apples.
* Mopani (Limpopo) produced 43% of the country’s avocados, 25% of its oranges and 64% of all our mangoes.
* Lejweleputswa (Free Sate) produced 23% of the national potato crop.
* The Cape Winelands (Western Cape) produced 60% of the nation’s grapes.
* The nation’s pineapple crop (63%) is concentrated in the Sarah Baartman district (Eastern Cape).
* South Africa’s biggest horticultural products in 2017 were potatoes, oranges, grapes and apples.
* The top five field crop products produced nationally were maize, sugar cane, lucerne, wheat and soya beans.
* The Thabo Mofutsanyane district (Free State) is the leading producer of sunflower seeds, churning out almost a quarter of all seeds produced nationwide.