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.