SA commercial agricultural census begins

16 October 2018 - 16:32 By Ernest Mabuza
A farm worker walks between rows of vegetables at a farm in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, on May 13 2015.
A farm worker walks between rows of vegetables at a farm in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, on May 13 2015.
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

Statistics South Africa has started its Census of Commercial Agriculture in South Africa.

The census will last until June 2019.

A team of fieldworkers began the census by collecting data at a farm in Bapsfontein in Ekurhuleni on Monday.

About 600 fieldworkers will collect data from farmers in order to count how many commercial farmers there are‚ determine the size of farms‚ the variety of crops grown in different geographic areas‚ number of livestock on each farm and irrigation usage.

Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said that the data collected would also measure levels of employment in the agriculture sector.

“(The census) will assist the country to measure the level of food security in the country and also guide investment and planning in the agriculture sector‚” said Maluleke.

He said South Africa had a long history of conducting these censuses‚ with the first one conducted in 1918 and the results published in 1919.

This is the third census of this kind in post-apartheid South Africa‚ with the first conducted in 2002 and another in 2007.

Farmers’ identities will be protected throughout the census and individual business information will not be disclosed.

A farmer in Bapsfontein‚ whose farm was visited by Maluleke and his team‚ welcomed the census and said it would provide much needed data.

The last census in 2007‚ found that 83.2% of the 39‚966 active farming units in the commercial sector were owned by individuals‚ followed by close corporations (5.7%) and private companies (5.4%).

The census found that over 700‚000 employees were employed countrywide.

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