The twentieth century saw substantive shifts in the structure of agriculture and agricultural production in South Africa. Average farm size grew, farm numbers eventually declined, and production increasingly emphasized higher-valued commodities, notably a range of horticultural crops. Real agricultural output grew steadily, by 2.6% per year from 1910 to 1980, but growth slowed thereafter (to just 0.19% per year from 1980 to 2008). Here we document and discuss developments regarding aggregate input, output, and productivity developments within South Africa.
To do so we draw on an entirely new set of production data stretching back to 1910/11 reported in Liebenberg 2010, as well as related evidence reported by other studies for South Africa and other countries within subSaharan Africa.