The latest review from the South African Department of Agriculture indicates that the country’s agricultural income boomed by 53% in the past year.

Gross income from all farm products in 2001 was estimated to be Rand 57bn, (US$5.35bn), while gross income from field crops rose by 24% to an income of Rand 20.14bn, ($1.89m). Pretoria says that a mechanisation drive and good weather conditions explain the healthy figures.

The review indicated that prices realised by the farmers for agricultural products increased by 19% and inputs rose by 14.1%. The most prominent export destinations were the UK, the Netherlands, Japan and the US.

By Richard Hurst, in Johannesburg