Meat and Game

With regard to meat, South Africa's beef production is based on imported cattle breeds in areas with a more moderate climate, and indigenous breeds which are adapted to warmer and drier bushveld areas. Various sheep and goat breeds that are similarly adapted to moderate and semi-arid regions, make optimal use of all parts of the country. The pig and poultry industries are highly intensive as in most developed countries of the world. The game industry uses bushveld resources which deter even the hardiest cattle breeds and produces different types of venison as a welcome food alternative.

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 Egg and Milk Products

Egg and milk production is intensive and provides protein for human nutrition.

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 Field Crops

Of the total cultivated area of approximately 10 million ha in South Africa, about 36 per cent is under maize and 21 per cent under small grains. These crops, together with oil seeds and sorghum, occupy about two-thirds of the total arable land.

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 Maize

About 15 000 farmers produce maize, mainly in the North-West, the north-western, northern and eastern Free State, the Mpumalanga highveld and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. Serious drought conditions prevailed in the higher rainfall regions of South Africa during 1994 and 1995 which caused a serious drop in maize production. Maize production figures in 1994 and 1995 fell by almost 8,6 million t against the previous year, a decline of 45 per cent against the long-term production average. Other crops were similarly affected.

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 Wheat

After maize, wheat is South Africa's most important grain crop. It is produced in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape, and the summer rainfall areas of the North-West, Northern Province and the Free State. At present, the production in the Free State is the highest, but there are considerable annual fluctuations. The Western Cape is the most stable production area because of its more dependable rainfall.

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 Barley

Barley is produced mainly on the southern coastal plains of the Western Cape. In fact, more than 95 per cent of locally produced barley is grown here.

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 Sorghum

Sorghum is cultivated mostly in the drier parts of the summer rainfall areas.

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 Groundnuts

Groundnuts are grown in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga, the northern Free State and the North-West.

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 Sunflower Seeds

South Africa is the world's tenth largest producer of sunflower seed, with an annual harvest of between 175 000 and 630 000 t. Sunflower seed is produced on the Mpumalanga highveld, in the North-West and the Free State. South Africa is the world's tenth largest sugar producer.

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 Sugar

The bulk of the sugar crop is cultivated in the frost-free coastal areas and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. However, about 10 per cent is grown under irrigation in the southern parts of Mpumalanga.

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 Deciduous Fruit

Deciduous fruit is grown mainly in the Western Cape as well as in the Langkloof valley in the Eastern Cape. Smaller production areas are found along the Orange River, in the Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. This industry's export earnings represent 21 per cent of the country's total earnings from agricultural exports.

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 Vineyards

About 100 000 ha of land is covered by vineyards.  Approximately 90 per cent of this consists of wine grapes planted in the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape.  Smaller plantings occur in the Northern Cape (mainly grapes for the production of raisins), Free State and in the Northern Province.

In 1995, South Africa accounted for 3,5 per cent (950 million gross liters) of the world's wine production from only 94 000 ha of land that is under vines. Per capita wine consumption in South Africa is 9,01 l a year.

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 Citrus

Citrus production is largely limited to the irrigation areas of the Northern Province and Mpumalanga, the Eastern and Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. There are 3 000 citrus farmers who produce an annual crop of about 837 433 t from about 13 million trees.

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 Pineapples and Other Subtropicals

Pineapples are grown in the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal. Other subtropical crops such as avocados, mangoes, bananas, litchis, guavas, pawpaws, granadillas, and macadamia and pecan nuts are produced mainly in Mpumalanga and Northern Province at, among other places, Levubu and Tzaneen, and in the subtropical coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

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 Vegetables

Vegetables, especially under irrigation, are produced in all parts of the country and, as in the case of potatoes (a crop grown in fields), are available to consumers throughout the year.   When winter production in the higher, colder regions is minimal, the warmer lowveld and coastal areas supplement demand.  When the lowveld is too  hot for certain vegetables, the highveld's vegetable production is in season.

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 Potatoes, Tomatoes, Onions, Green Mielies, Sweet Corn, Cabbages

About 40 per cent of the country's potato crop is grown in the higher-lying areas of the Free State and Mpumalanga. The Northern Province, Eastern, Western and Northern Cape and the higher-lying areas of KwaZulu-Natal are also important areas of production. About two-thirds of the country's total potato crop is produced under irrigation here.

In terms of gross income to the grower, tomatoes, onions, green mealies and sweet corn are probably the most important crops. These crops contribute 27, 14 and 17 per cent, respectively, to the income derived from vegetables. Tomatoes are produced countrywide, but mainly in the Northern Province, the Mpumalanga Lowveld and Middleveld, the Pongola area of KwaZulu-Natal, the southern parts of the Eastern Cape and in the Western Cape. Onions are grown in Mpumalanga, the districts of Caledon, Ceres and Worcester in the Western Cape, and at Venterstad and the adjoining areas of the southern Free State.

Cabbages are also grown countrywide, but are more concentrated in Mpumalanga, the Camperdown and Greytown districts of KwaZulu-Natal and near big cities.

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 Cotton

Cotton is produced mainly in the Northern Province. It constitutes 74 per cent of the natural fiber and 42 per cent of all fiber processed in South Africa. Seventy-five per cent of local production is harvested by hand.

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 Virginia Tobacco

Virginia tobacco is produced mainly in Mpumalanga and Northern Province with smaller quantities of Oriental tobacco being produced in the Western and Eastern Cape. There are more than 1 000 growers in the country who produce an annual average of 33 million kg on about 24 000 ha of land. The crop represents 173 different grades of Virginia and five different grades of Oriental tobacco.

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 Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is an indigenous herbal beverage produced mainly in the Cederberg area of the Western Cape. There are 280 producers and some 580 t of tea is exported annually.  Rooibos Tea Natural Products (Pty) Ltd markets the product.

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 Ornamental Plants

Ornamental plants are produced throughout the country, but production aimed particularly at the export market is concentrated mostly in the central part of the Northern Province, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Ornamental plant

production includes nursery plants, cut flowers and pot plants.  The country's most important plant export products are gladioli, proteas, bulbs, chrysanthemum cuttings and roses.

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 Cut Flowers, Foliage and Dried Flowers

Cut flowers, foliage and dried flowers from the Cape Floral Kingdom (fynbos) are supplied to world markets. Cape fynbos serves as a gene pool for flowers such as freesias, Guernsey lilies and gladioli. Cultivation of fynbos earns the Western Cape valuable foreign currency. The industry creates jobs for about 15 000 people. Dried flowers are an important section of the fynbos industry. A large variety of dry flower species such as the everlasting, conebush (Leucadendron) and other suitable types are produced. Approximately 60 per cent of the genus Protea is cultivated, while the foliage is gathered mainly in the veld. The ratio between the veld crop and cultivated material is about 65:35. Proteas are the country's top export flowers.

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 More than 300 Food Crops

A wide range of other food products such as spices, dates, tea, coffee and chicory are produced in ever-increasing quantities. In fact, more than 300 food crops are produced in South Africa, from asparagus to ginger and pecan nuts.

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