How to Start an Agribusiness in South Africa

Posted on September 16th, 2022
Agriculture and Farming Articles Business Opportunities Start



South Africa has an enormous agriculture industry, which means there are many agribusiness opportunities that exist. There has been a recent surge of small-scale agriculture businesses that have been popping up around South Africa – proving that there is plenty of room for entrepreneurs to establish themselves in this space.

There’s a lot to consider before starting an agribusiness, as the large sector can be intimidating to newcomers. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most important things to know to help you start a new venture in agriculture.

Examples of Agribusiness

Agribusiness combines the words “agriculture” and “business”, meaning an agribusiness is any kind of business focused on farming. An agribusiness doesn’t necessarily refer to farming itself. Instead, it could mean any kind of business activity related to the agricultural industry.

Some agribusiness examples include tractor and farm machinery producers, seed and agrichem manufacturers, agrotourism companies, food processing companies, and makers of animal feeds. Of course, traditional farming also falls under agribusiness. These are just a few agribusiness examples. The space for agribusiness in South Africa is broad, with many possible opportunities.

How to Start an Agribusiness in South Africa

Starting an agribusiness in South Africa can be highly profitable if done right. Here are a few important things to consider when starting a business in agriculture.

Understand the Climate

South Africa boasts many different climates, which makes it suitable for a wide variety of farming. When you have established where you will start an agribusiness, first understand your specific climate and soil conditions. This will help you understand what types of crops and livestock could best suit the environment.

Perform Market Research

The agricultural sector of South Africa is enormous, which means there are many different agribusinesses in operation. You’ll need to understand the market to identify the competition and opportunities that exist. It’s especially important to understand your local market so that you can develop an agribusiness idea that makes sense.

Establish a Business Plan

You will need a solid business plan for your agricultural venture. This needs to outline exactly what you will do and how you will do it. Some elements to include in your agribusiness plan are:

  • Financial details and capital requirements
  • Expected revenue and profits
  • Operations plan
  • Marketing plan (how you will get customers)

Your business plan establishes exactly what you will require to set up your agribusiness and start making money. Think of this as your business roadmap that you will follow.


An agribusiness generally requires a fair amount of capital to get started. Explore your financing options and ensure you have enough capital to get your business off the ground.

Speak to an Expert: Boost Your Agribusiness with Professional Services

Start Slow

Don’t try to be a big player straight away. Instead, start your agribusiness and focus on gradually growing it. This is important because mistakes in agriculture can be very expensive – especially if you’re operating at a large scale. So, start small and gradually build a name for yourself. As you gain more knowledge and discover room for business growth, you can steadily increase your agribusiness operations.


The Most Profitable Agricultural Business in South Africa

South Africa has an enormous agricultural sector, with many lucrative agribusiness opportunities. Some of the most profitable crops and areas of agriculture in South Africa include:

  • Grain
  • Macadamia nut farming
  • Pig farming
  • Poultry farming
  • Oilseed
  • Wine farming

There are also a lot of opportunities to make money by planting high-demand crops like pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, and chicory in South Africa. In each of these areas of agriculture, there is room for all kinds of agribusiness ideas.

What is the Biggest Agriculture Industry in South Africa?

South Africa has an incredibly diverse agricultural industry. Grain (maize, barley, sorghum, oats, wheat) is one of the biggest agricultural industries in the country. The grain industry contributes more than 30% of the total value of agricultural production. The South African agricultural sector also has a large number of livestock farms.

What Agricultural Products are in Demand in South Africa?

Some of the most in-demand products in South Africa’s agricultural sector include:

  • Maize
  • Sugarcane
  • Wheat
  • Sunflower
  • Citrus
  • Vegetables (lettuce, chicory, pumpkins, tomatoes)
  • Cattle
  • Dairy
  • Pigs

Starting an agribusiness in South Africa involves careful planning and a solid understanding of the industry. While it’s not always easy to get started, the good news is that there are many agricultural business opportunities that exist across the country. By starting small with a clear plan, you could eventually establish a hugely profitable agribusiness.