Table of Contents


See also the many other chapters in this section e.g. “Fruit juices”, “Milling”, “Dairy processing” etc.


1. Overview

“Agro-processing is important because when you have an existing agricultural activity and you add value to the crops produced through agro-processing, that’s where the real income and real job opportunities lie,” Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

This section of The Agri Handbook for South Africa deals with adding value to the primary agricultural product. This finished product is what the consumer wants and pays money for. Because of this, farmers are often advised to be more involved in the activities that happen beyond the farm gate.

The agro-processing industry consists of various sub-sectors, which include:

  • meat processing
  • dairy products
  • fruit and vegetables processing
  • grain mill products
  • sugar mills and refineries
  • wine
  • fruit juices
  • beer
  • cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectionery
  • bakery products
  • prepared animal feeds

Other food products/ingredients include starch and starch products, baby food, chips, baking powder, yeast, condiments, flavours and fragrances, mustard, vinegar, edible salt refining, tea and coffee processing and packing. Non-food products include tobacco, essential oils, biofuels, biopolymers, bioplastics, paper and paper products, wood and wood products, textiles, wearing apparel, rubber products, footwear and leather and leather products.

Government views agro-processing as a sector to be strengthened as it delivers on vital areas like job creation, exports and “raising overall economic productivity" (see heading 5). Business views agro-processing as “a high skilled, capital intensive and scale of economy business”. It welcomes government attention but lists concerns as being that interventions should not crowd out private sector investment or undermine the competitiveness of current players.


2. International business environment