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Agriculture in South Africa

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**Historical Overview of Agriculture in South Africa:**
– Prehistorical evidence of pastoralism and farming in southern Africa.
– Ancient settlements in Mozambique.
– European record of farming in South Africa from the 1500s.

**Main Agricultural Productions in South Africa (2018):**
Sugarcane, maize, grapes, oranges, and pears.
– Other crops like potatoes, wheat, soy, sunflower seed, apples, onions, and tomatoes.
– Export of produce by South African companies.

**Crop Diversity in South Africa:**
Maize as the primary crop for food, feed, and exports.
– Increased wheat production post-World War II.
– Production of sorghum, barley, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beans, and soybeans.

**Fruit and Wine Farming in South Africa:**
– Contribution of fruits, including grapes for wine, to export earnings.
– Cultivation of deciduous fruits like apples, pears, and peaches.
– Growing citrus, pineapples, bananas, avocados, and mangoes.
– Renowned wine industry dating back to the seventeenth century.

**Challenges and External Factors Impacting South African Agriculture:**
– Effects of the worst drought in 30 years in 2015.
– Climate change impacts on water resources and agriculture.
– Land allocation issues, including waiting for land and expropriation without compensation.
– Initiatives by the Department of Agriculture in South Africa to address challenges.
– Economic impacts of climate change on agriculture in South Africa.

Agriculture in South Africa contributes around 5% of formal employment, relatively low compared to other parts of Africa and the number is still decreasing, as well as providing work for casual laborers and contributing around 2.6 percent of GDP for the nation. Due to the aridity of the land, only 13.5 percent can be used for crop production, and only 3 percent is considered high potential land.

Development of agricultural output of South Africa in 2015 US$ since 1961
A windpump on a farm in South Africa.

According to FAOSTAT, South Africa is one of the world's largest producers of: chicory roots (4th); grapefruit (4th); cereals (5th); green maize and maize (7th); castor oil seed (9th); pears (9th); sisal (10th); fibre crops (10th). The dairy industry consists of around 4,300 milk producers providing employment for 60,000 farm workers and contributing to the livelihoods of around 40,000 others.

The South African government has set a target of transferring 30% of productive farmland to 'previously disadvantaged' black people by 2014. Land reform has been criticised both by farmers' groups and by landless workers, the latter alleging that the pace of change has not been fast enough, and the former alleging racist treatment and expressing concerns that a similar situation to Zimbabwe's land reform policy may develop, a fear exacerbated by comments made by former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. On 27 February 2018, the National Assembly voted to set in motion a process to amend the Constitution so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

The government has been accused of either putting in too much effort,[needs update] or not enough effort, to tackle the problem of farm attacks as opposed to other forms of violent crime.

Some predictions show surface water supply could decrease by 60% by 2070 in parts of the Western Cape. To reverse the damage caused by land mismanagement, the government has supported a scheme which promotes sustainable development and the use of natural resources. Maize production, which contributes to a 36% majority of the gross value of South Africa's field crops, has also experienced negative effects due to climate change.[citation needed] The estimated value of loss, which takes into consideration scenarios with and without the carbon dioxide fertilization effect, ranges between tens and hundreds of millions of Rands.

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