Agriculture in southern Africa

Wheat Enlarge image Wheat (© picture alliance / Christian End)

The activities of the Agricultural Division within the Embassy of Germany in South Africa  include the neighboring countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Flag of Angola

Agriculture in Angola

Angola’s Agriculture has great potential as currently  only 5 percent of its land is cultivated. Loans from the World Bank make investments in agriculture possible, e.g. 150 million dollars has recently been earmarked for the coffee sector.  Investments to foster socio economic development and the green sector in particular are supported by Germany through the KfW Development Bank. Just to mention one, the Kavango–Zambezi Trans frontier Conservation Area (KAZA).

The main domestic crop in Angola is cassava. Maize, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes and bananas are also grown in some areas. Livestock (cattle) is the second largest agricultural product after cassava. Cash crops such as coffee, tobacco, tea, cotton and palm oil are mainly grown for export.

The fish industry plays an important role in Angola’s agricultural economy. Angola is one of the top ten African producers of fish, mainly due to the nutrient-rich cold waters of the Benguela Current off Angola’s shores.

Flag of Botswana

Agriculture in Botswana

The Agriculture Sector in Botswana is influenced to a large extend by harsh climatic conditions as droughts occur on a regular basis. Commercial crop production is low and most crops are produced for subsistence, or for local consumption. However, recently large investments in crop production (maize etc.) have been started in the North-West.

Approximately 17 percent of the country is covered by National Parks, Game-, Forest- and Private Reserves. However livestock rearing – in particular cattle – accounts for around a tenth of Botswana’s gross national product. Economically the agriculture sector is driven by the international beef market including South Africa and the European Community.

Flag of Lesotho

Agriculture in the Kingdom of Lesotho

Agriculture in the Kingdom of Lesotho is challenging due to its unforgiving terrain, high elevation and mountainous landscape. However, the majority of Lesotho's population engages in subsistence farming. Potato, maize, wheat, pulses, sorghum and barley are the primary crops grown. Breeding livestock - sheep, goats and cattle - is generally a subsistence activity, but sheep and goats that produce meat, milk, and high quality wool and mohair are the most important animals. Despite the challenges, agriculture plays a major part in the fight against poverty.

Flag of Mozambique

Agriculture in Mozambique

Agriculture in Mozambique is the backbone of the country's economy, accounting for 40 percent of GNP, 60 percent of export revenues and involves almost 80 percent of the active population. The most fertile areas are in the northern and central provinces, which have high agro-ecological potential and generally produce agricultural surpluses. Southern provinces have poorer soil and scarce rainfall, and are subject to recurrent droughts and floods.

The main agricultural products are maize, rice, cassava, groundnut, beans, sweet potato, sugar cane, cotton, cashews, copra, tea, citrus and tobacco.  Major export partners are South Africa, Portugal and Japan.  Prawns, cashew nuts, cotton, sugar, citrus fruits and timber are the main agricultural export commodities.

Flag of Namibia

Agriculture in Namibia

Since only 2 percent of Namibia's land receives sufficient rainfall to grow crops (the North –eastern Triangle incl. the Caprivi Strip) Namibian agriculture -excluding fishing- concentrates on livestock and meat products. The Namibian population depends on agricultural activities for livelihood, mostly in the subsistence sector. Animal products, live animals, and tablegrape exports constituted roughly 10 percent of total Namibian exports.

However, Namibia has one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, based on the Benguela Current System. This system supports rich populations of fish, which form the basis for the Namibian marine fisheries sector.

Flag of Swaziland

Agriculture in Swaziland

Swaziland`s Agriculture hosts a abundance of high value crops. Sugar, forestry and citrus are characterized by high levels of investment and irrigation, and high productivity. Nevertheless, the majority of the population – about 75 percent—is employed in subsistence agriculture on Swazi Nation Land (SNL), which, in contrast, suffers from low productivity and investment.

Flag of Zambia

Agriculture in Zambia

Agriculture in Zambia is endowed with a large land resource base of 42 million hectares of which only 1.5 million hectares is cultivated every year. There are abundant water resources for irrigation and the country has 40 percent of the water sources in Central and Southern Africa. Agricultural output in Zambia rose in recent years as a result of increased area planted, good rainfall patterns in the whole country, as well as favorable agriculture policies by the government. Among major crops are: sunflower, soya beans, rice, maize, tobacco and wheat. The agricultural sector is the backbone of the Zambian economy as it contributes to the growth of the economy and also to exports.

Flag Zmbabwe

Agriculture in Zimbabwe

Agriculture in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s was the most important economic activity with about 60 percent of industry being agro-based. The agricultural sector employed a large proportion of the country’s labour force and also contributed about 18 percent of GDP and 40percent of export earnings annually in a normal year. Tobacco, cotton, sugar, maize, tea, coffee, horticultural crops, fruits, vegetables and beef were the main agricultural export commodities, with beef exports headed mainly to the European Union and South Africa. Since then, there have been many changes in Zimbabwe relating to land ownership. The impact of these changes on the agricultural sector is too complex to be adequately reflected here.

Agriculture in southern Africa

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