These Provinces Have Unused Land Suitable For Agriculture

OK folks, since we are in the midst of ‘land’ discussions, I thought it would be useful to share this chart (see featured image). It basically shows that South Africa has the potential to explore additional, unused land that is suitable for agricultural production. This is roughly between 1.6 million and 1.8 million hectares – mainly located in Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape provinces. 

This is high potential land which, with the necessary investment and conditioning of the soil, will expand national agricultural production and increase food security.

The debate ought to shift towards how to bring this land into production and ensure that there is access to infrastructure, services and water for commercially viable farming. Two of the three regions in the chart have the potential for irrigation, making them prime locations to establish agriculture. 

Oh, these are not my numbers – I am leaning on the studies done by Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy in 2011 and McKinsey Global Institute in 2015. 

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Author: Wandile Sihlobo

Wandile Sihlobo is an agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) in South Africa. He is a columnist for Business Day and Farmers Weekly magazine. Sihlobo is a member of the South African Agricultural Economics Association. He has previously served as an economist at Grain South Africa. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

5 thoughts on “These Provinces Have Unused Land Suitable For Agriculture”

  1. What we need is able and willing farmers.
    Farming is a complex job and we need to create new farmers through an action learning process. The skills(do) and the attitude (be) will have to be developed together through training and mentors as partners, simultaneously.
    Land reform since 1994 was not successful. On the one hand we have unable beneficiaries because of a lack of training, support by government and the private sector without a vision of farming as a vocation. On the other hand, the commercial farmers were unwilling to participate in the process. An unwilling and unable paradox.
    On the unused and under-utilised land, we need to develop Agricultural Growth Points or Agricultural Clusters that support professionalising in farming. It is envisioned as a farm or a number of farms supported by infrastructure and knowledge sources. Not something new in agricultural development, internationally and locally. The success of current commercial farmers in South Africa, amongst other things, can be contributed to this.

    Liked by 1 person

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