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Agriculture of South Africa


South african agriculture
South african agriculture

The relative contribution of agriculture, forestry, and fishing to GDP has steadily declined and was 3 percent in 2007, but these industries employ hundreds of thousands of people and support many more in the subsistence sector. Only 12 percent of South Africa’s land area is cultivated, and most of the rest is suitable only for pastoral farming. The most important crop is maize (corn), the staple food of most black South Africans. Other important crops include wheat, sugarcane, barley, potatoes, citrus fruit, and grapes (for winemaking). Livestock includes poultry, sheep, and cattle.

Under apartheid blacks were restricted to the ten bantustans, which made up only 13 percent of the country’s total area. Farming in these areas is primarily for subsistence, and traditional land tenure systems vest land in the chiefs or headmen, who allocate small plots to individual farmers. Marketing crops is largely local because of poor infrastructure. Commercial agriculture remains overwhelmingly white-owned, employing black farm workers.

Although South Africa has little native forest, it has developed a significant timber and wood products industry based on pine, eucalyptus, and wattle plantations. Commercial forests are mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces.

Commercial fishing industry


The commercial fishing industry is centered on the waters off the west coast, which are productive because of the cold Benguela Current. Pilchard, anchovy, and hake are the most common catch. Rock lobsters are also caught, mainly for export. In terms of volume, multispecies shoal fishing by purse seine (a surface net that encircles and entraps entire shoals of fish) is the most important method used, followed by bottom and mid-water trawling. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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