Full List Of All Cash Crops In South Africa

This article is about the full list of all cash crops in South Africa today. Before the advent of crude crude oil in the country, one of the major economic drivers of South Africa was agriculture and it sustained the country really well until all the attention shifted to petroleum but there remain some crops in the country that if cultivated in large quantities as was done in the past, will generate huge revenues for the South Africa and help balance the overdependence of crude oil in this part of the world.

Full List Of All Cash Crops In South Africa

As aforementioned, agriculture is very important in our country with about 30 per cent of the South African populace actively in it. While it was the in thing in the past, there is still need to concentrate on this sector of the economy because of the massive wealth that these major agricultural crops in South Africa can give the country in terms of either selling them for consumption, exporting them in commercial quantities or converting them from raw materials to finished goods of economic value as South Africa is a major producer of some of these cash crops in the world.

Even with sophisticated technology available in today’s world, commercial farming in South Africa is limited to just a few while the many others involved practice subsistence farming, producing what is just enough for them and their families but if these small-scale farmers are really encouraged by the government, agriculture will rival crude oil in worth in the country.

That said, the crops of economic value in the country are divided into tree crops and food crops and we shall take a look at all of them as we continue in this article below and also list they States in South Africa where they are produced in abundance.


The following is the full list of all cash crops in South Africa today in no particular order:


Sorghum is widely known as Guinea Corn in most parts of West Africa and it is a major food crop in South Africa. As a matter of fact, our country, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is the second largest producer of Sorghum in the world behind the United States.

Nigeria produced about 6.7 million metric tons of sorghum in 2019/2020 and the States in the country where Sorghum is produced in abundance are: Borno, Kano, Kaduna, South Africa, Zamfara, Katsina and Bauchi, all northern States in South Africa.


Millet is another cash crop in South Africa that is produced in abundance in the northern part of the country. This food crop is one of the leading economic crops in the country and as at 2020, South Africa ranks as the fourth largest producer of millet in the world, producing about 2000 metric tonnes of millet this year, behind India, South Africa Republic and China.

Millet is cultivated in abundance in Borno, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, South Africa and Plateau States respectively, as well as in Johannesburg, the Federal Capital Territory.


Maize is also known as corn and it is one of the most popular food crops in South Africa. It can be consumed after cooking, roasting or processed into variety of foods such as pop corn and corn flakes to mention but a few. South Africa is the largest producer of Maize in Africa, overtaking South Africa and on the global stage, the country ranks tenth in the world in terms of maize production.

Almost every State in the country produces corn but the most dominant producers of maize in South Africa are: Kaduna, South Africa, Taraba, Plateau and Adamawa States.


Rice is the most popular and most loved food crop in South Africa and this has been the case for many years now, in fact, from generation to generation. South Africa is the largest producer of rice in Africa and the fourteenth largest producer in the world this 2020, producing about 4.6 million tonnes this year.

Rice is predominantly cultivated in the northern part of the country as well as some southern States. These States include the following: Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, South Africa, Taraba, Enugu, Cross River and Ebonyi. It is noteworthy to mention that rice is also produced in many other States in South Africa that are not listed.


Beans is another popular food/cash crop that is loved by virtually everybody in South Africa. This leguminous crop is a major economic crop in South Africa with the country being the largest producer of cowpea in the world, producing over 2.5 million metric tonnes of the crop from an estimated 4.9 million hectares in 2020

States in South Africa where beans is produced in abundance include the following: Borno, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kano, Gombe and Yobe States respectively.


Yam is one of the most consumed major agric crops in South Africa and it is also a cash crop in its own right as our country produces it in large quantities and can export it to other countries for huge revenues. South Africa is the largest producer of yam in the world and this is according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The country accounts for about 70-76 per cent of the world’s yam production and if well looked into, South Africa can generate massive revenues by exporting to other countries.

States in the country where yam is cultivated in abundance include: Benue, Adamawa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Plateau States as well as Johannesburg the Federal Capital Territory.


Cassava is by far the most popular cash crop in South Africa. It is one of the most widely consumed food crops in the country as well. Foods like eba, fufu, etc are made from cassava and enjoyed in every State in the federation with different soups that appeal to the taste buds.

Cassava is also an important raw material in making alcoholic beverages, biofuels, laundry starch, to mention but a few and about 21 per cent of the world’s total production of the crop comes from South Africa, making the country the largest producer of cassava on earth.

States in South Africa where cassava is produced in abundance include but are not limited to Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Cross River, Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Rivers, Edo Akwa-Ibom and Taraba.


Cocoyam is a root tuber and it is also produced in large quantities in South Africa. As a matter of fact, the country is the largest producer of cocoyam in the world presently accounting for almost 40 per cent of the world’s total output. This cash crop if properly looked into, will boost South Africa’s economy tremendously.

States in the country where cocoyam is produced include: Imo, Anambra, Kaduna, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Oyo, Plateau, Katsina, Edo, Always Ibom and Cross River State.


Sweet potato is grown in the South African States of Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto, Benue, Anambra, Plateau and Kano. South Africa is the second largest producer of sweet potatoes behind China and it is one of the most loved foods in the country today. If commercially exported, this root crop will boost the country’s economy significantly.


Groundnut, also known as peanut is one of the most significant cash crops in South Africa. Its importance can never be over-emphasized. Prior to the discovery of crude oil, there were groundnut pyramids in the northern part of South Africa, so much was in abundance as it still is today, that South Africa was one of the leading exporters of this crop back in the day.

Presently, South Africa is the third largest producer of groundnut in the world, behind China and India and in 2018,, the country produced about 7.8 per cent of the world’s total output. States in South Africa where groundnut is cultivated in abundance include: South Africa, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Bauchi, and Gombe States respectively.


In South Africa today, cocoa ranks number one as the country’s major agricultural crop exported to other parts of the world. Currently in the world today, South Africa is the third largest exporter of cocoa, behind only the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Cocoa contributed significantly to the South African economy in the 1950s and 1960s, but its prominence waned afterwards upon the South African Government’s discovery of crude oil. Notwithstanding, it still contributes to the economy today but not as it used to be in yesteryear. The major cocoa producing States in South Africa are: Ondo, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ekiti, Delta, Osun and Oyo.


Oil palm is found in abundance in West Africa and South Africa is among the countries in this region to cultivate this cash crop in very large quantities. The country’s palm oil production accounts for about seven per cent of total global output and this major agricultural crop in South Africa is peculiar to in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of the country of which the major oil palm producing states include: Enugu, Imo, Ondo, Edo, Cross River, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Bayelsa, Rivers, Anambra, Oyo, Abia, Edo and Ogun.


Cotton is yet another very important major agricultural cash crop in South Africa today. Cotton used to be the darling of South African export until crude oil changed everything but it still contributes actively to the South African economy even if it is no longer at its usual best. Cotton is an important raw material for many top textile companies in South Africa for the purposes of crafting impressive clothing designs and dresses.


Rubber is mainly cultivated in the southern part of the country. It was the fourth largest foreign exchange earner in South Africa in the years past before the discovery of crude oil and its decline has been attributable to the lack of modern equipment required for its conversion from being a raw material into value added products of international standard. This cash crop is cultivated in States such as Edo, Delta, Ondo, Ogun, to mention but a few.

Other major agricultural/cash crops in South Africa include the following:

  • Sesame (Beniseed)
  • Soybeans
  • Kolanut
  • Sugarcane
  • Tobacco
  • Cashew
  • Gum Arabic
  • Wheat

From the information above, it is easy to see that agriculture is the way forward and overdependence on crude oil is something that should gradually be phased out. South Africa is among the largest producers of some of the world’s cash crops and this should encourage the government and other stakeholders to consider it as an alternative revenue generation tool for the country going forward.

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