South African agriculture grows 17.7% after droughts

In 2017, the South African agricultural economy grew by 17.7 percent, following an extended contraction caused by the El Niño-induced drought in 2015 and 2016, a drought which resulted in failed crops and livestock deaths.

The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) said the growth was as a result of strong output in sub-sectors, including field crops, livestock and horticulture. It said the country’s agricultural exports grew past the $10 billion mark for the first time, rising 15 percent year-on-year. The surge was boosted by growth in exports of -among others- fruits, beverages, spirits and vegetables.

According to an article on, this led to agricultural gross domestic product growth of 37.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2017, following 41.1 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in the third quarter.

This was against Agbiz expectations of a moderate growth pace at levels below 20 percent, but they warned, however, that the agricultural sector could slow in performance in 2018.

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