According to a survey by the First National Bank, agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal is growing at around 12 percent per annum. This growth is driven by diversification, but there are risks to the sector posed by land expropriation, climate change and cheaper imports.
KwaZulu-Natal is recovering from a severe drought with indicators pointing to a normal rainfall for South Africa's summer rainfall areas and boding well for production, said Dawie Maree, head of information and marketing at FNB Agriculture. The sector contributes around four percent to gross domestic product in South Africa’s second largest province by population, with sugar production in the north and south coasts, dairy and irrigation maize in the Midlands region and mainly cattle and commercial poultry production inland.
It has also seen a dramatic increase in the production of macadamia nuts and avocado, mainly for export markets.
"In terms of the agricultural sector, the province is still growing and there is a significant amount of high potential arable land available, specifically in the tribal areas," Maree said in a statement.
But while FNB had a substantial market share in the province’s agricultural sector and considered it very important in its agricultural strategy, risks lurked from government driven land reforms, climate change and cheaper imports, he added.