What are South Africa's key types of agriculture and top five agricultural imports and exports?

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Jacob Christiansen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The agriculture industry in South Africa is made up of both crops and livestock. The country's climate and access to water (good on the coasts, poor in the center of the country) give it a pretty broad range of agricultural commodities. South African farmers produce a huge variety of grain and fruit (citrus, grapes, apples, pears, etc.). Maize is the most widely grown crop, with wheat, sugar cane, and sunflowers following behind. 

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in South Africa lists the following as their chief categories of agricultural commodities: 

"Horticultural products: citrus fruit, subtropical fruit, tropical fruit, vegetable crops, flowers. 

Livestock products: cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, ostriches, fish, game.

Grains: cereal grains, grain legumes, oilseeds.

Industrial products: cotton, sugar, chicory, black tea, coffee, mohair, wool, honey-bush tea, rooibos tea, sisal, cassava, tobacco, hides and skins, hemp and flax, wine."

South Africa is among the world's largest producers of the following crops: grapefruit, cereals, green maize, castor oil seeds, pears, and a few others.

This fact sheet, produced by the DAFF, should give you some other important information about crop growth. 

Here are South Africa's top agricultural exports:

  1. Edible nuts & fruits (citrus fruit/melon peel)
  2. Beverages, spirits, and vinegar (especially wine)
  3. Prep vegetables, fruit, nuts or other plant parts
  4. Sugars and sugar confectionery
  5. Cereals

Interestingly, South Africa is a net food exporter--they send out more food than they take in. Still, they do import some agricultural products. Here are the top five:

  1. Wheat
  2. Palm oil
  3. Soybean oil
  4. Bever. Dist.Alc (alcohol)
  5. Cake of Soybeans