South Africa has a population of nearly 55 million. The land is characterized by deserts, savannas, mountains, and has a temperate climate. A large amount of South Africa’s growing population is living under the poverty line. Current and future challenges for agriculture make food security a matter of crucial importance for the country.
Agricultural production in South Africa focuses on maize, sugar cane, potatoes and fruits. While the amount of arable land and water resources are limited, the agricultural sector employs only 5% of the labor force and further makes up 5% of the country’s exports.
Ranking sixth among the wold’s seventeen mega biodiverse countries of the world, South Africa still remains interdependent when it comes to crop diversity. In fact, 90%-98% of the food energy consumed in South Africa comes from crops that are not native to the region. Top imports are wheat, soybeans and palm oil. Yearly wheat imports add up to 1,849,581 tons and USD 599.4 million in value.
Ensuring that notable imports such as wheat and soybeans are able to adapt to the challenges that agriculture faces today and tomorrow is of the utmost importance, not only to South Africa, but also the world.