South Africa has a dual agricultural economy, with both well-developed commercial farming and more subsistence-based production in the deep rural areas.
Covering 1,2-million square kilometres of land, South Africa is about three times the size of Japan and has seven climatic regions, from Mediterranean to subtropical to semi-desert.
This biodiversity, together with a coastline 3 000 kilometres long and served by eight commercial ports, favours the cultivation of a highly diverse range of marine and agricultural products, from deciduous, citrus and subtropical fruit to grain, wool, cut flowers, livestock and game.
While 12% of South Africa’s land can be used for crop production, only 22% of this is high-potential arable land. The greatest limitation is the availability of water, with uneven and unreliable rainfall. Around 1,3 million hectares are under irrigation, and around 50% of South Africa’s water is used for agriculture.
Agricultural activities range from intensive crop production and mixed farming in the winter rainfall and high summer rainfall areas to cattle ranching in the bushveld and sheep farming in the arid regions. Maize is most widely grown, followed by wheat, sugar cane and sunflowers. Citrus and deciduous fruit is exported, as are locally produced wines and flowers.
South Africa is not only self-sufficient in virtually all major agricultural products, but it is also a net food exporter. It is also the leading exporter of protea cut flowers, which account for more than half of proteas sold in the world market.
Other important export groups are wine, citrus, maize, grapes, sugar, apples, pears and quinces. Important export products include agro-processing products, such as denatured ethyl alcohol, hides and skins.
Although the monetary values are lessor compared to the above items, South Africa is a major supplier of macadamia nuts, rooibos tea and fresh cut flowers to Japan.
Forestry includes all activities linked to these forests such as plantations, natural/ indigenous forest and woodlands/savannas.
Forestry refers not only to the use and management of forests but also includes the further processing of wood products into pulp for the paper and packaging industries, sawn timber, furniture, shelving, flooring, etc. In addition, forestry includes the use, management and processing of non-timber forest products, a vast category involving fruit, plants, medicinal herbs and animals found in forests and woodlands. Forestry also means the use of forest woods for fuel and for the manufacturing of charcoal; the production of important construction materials, including wooden beams, poles and thatching; and the provision of grass for grazing for domestic and wild animals.
Forests and woodlands are crucial for the protection and conservation of the soil, and play a vital part in water cycling. They also help moderate water flows and reduce sedimentation in streams and reservoirs. The nation’s forests and woodlands contribute significantly to South Africa’s remarkable range of fauna and flora, much of it unique. Many national parks and eco-tourism ventures use forests and woodlands. The Kruger National Park, for example, is a woodland area.
The potential area covered by woodlands is estimated at 39 to 42 million ha, depending on the classification system used.
The forestry industry is one of the strategic economic sectors in South Africa with a significant contribution towards economic growth and job creation. South Africa has been one of the major hardwood woodchip suppliers to Japan.
South Africa is an important coastal range state because of its strategic location. Being bordered by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and influenced by the Southern Ocean, its fisheries biodiversity is exceptionally rich. The warm Agulhas current as well as the cold, highly productive Benguela current, provide unique opportunities for economic activity, especially for fishing. South Africa has a well-developed fisheries management system and is a leading state in terms of the implementation of an ecosystem approach for fisheries management (EAF). South Africa also plays an important role internationally, e.g. in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RMFOs) and regional programmes such as the Benguela Current Commission (BCC) and other related programmes.
The coast, being the meeting place of land and sea, forms a distinctive, complex and interconnected natural system with finite and vulnerable resources that are impacted upon by human and environmental perturbations such as pollution, inappropriate development and environmental degradation. It provides substantial opportunities for economic and social development.
South Africa has a well-established fishery sector, comprising two components, wild capture fisheries which range from highly-industrialised capital-intensive fishing sectors to more accessible fishing sectors, including subsistence fisheries and an aquaculture component which is under development.
South Africa exports fish to Japan as follows:
The South African coastline covers more than 3 200 km, linking the east and west coasts of Africa. The country’s shores are particularly rich in biodiversity, with some 10,000 species of marine plants and animals having been recorded.
South Africa has a well-established fishery sector and is a net exporter of fishery products. However, most of South African fisheries are considered to be fully utilised and high-value fisheries such as abalone, prawns and linefish are largely overexploited.
The country also has a well-developed fisheries management system and is one of the world’s leading countries in the implementation of an ecosystem approach for fisheries management.
For further information on agriculture, forestry and fishery of South Africa, access the DAFF website on www.daff.gov.za or industry website below for information on individual sector.