Farming in South Africa

© Chris Daly

South Africa has a diverse climate, ranging from Mediterranean in the south western corner of the country to subtropical in the northeast, temperate in the interior and patches of desert in the northwest. This diversity allows the country to produce a huge range of agricultural commodities, which in turn has resulted in the industry not only becoming one of South Africa’s biggest job creators but also a major contributor to the gross domestic product.

Production is multifaceted, ranging from thousands of subsistence farmers merely trying to put food on the table and make a little extra income on the side, to large commercial businesses that employ hundreds of people.

South Africa is generally self-sufficient in terms of meat and grain production and is renowned for the excellent quality of its wine, fruit, table grapes and vegetables. The type of production is also diverse, ranging from highly extensive systems over thousands of kilometres, as with game and sheep farming, to highly intensive as is the case with modern pork and poultry production facilities.

Whether small or large, what makes South African farmers great is the way in which they are able to make the most of what they have with very little help from outsiders. This has awarded South African farmers with the reputation of being among the most efficient and innovative producers in the world.


The commercial production of aquatic plants and animals is called aquaculture and can be divided into freshwater aquaculture and sea or saltwater aquaculture. Seawater aquaculture is also termed ‘mariculture’....more

Climate and Farming in South Africa

Farming is not only about choosing a crop or an animal to farm. To farm successfully and to understand nature you will need to understand the climate, weather, rainfall and temperature of an area....more

Crop Farming in South Africa

South Africa’s agricultural sector is one of the world’s most diverse, consisting of corporate and private intensive and extensive crop farming systems, including vegetable, fruit, grapes...more

Farm Management in South Africa

Farmers in South Africa face changes on a daily basis and need to be able to adapt and manage droughts, escalating fuel prices, instability in market conditions and labour issues....more

Livestock Farming in South Africa

South Africa has a market-oriented agricultural economy that includes livestock production of cattle, dairy, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, ostrich and a well-developed poultry...more

Soft Skills for Farming

Young and new farmers are the future of South Africa’s agriculture. Apart from specific hard skills required by the various areas of farming, soft skills are also needed by new farmers....more