Table of Contents


See also the “Environmental Legislation” chapter


1. Overview

Agricultural activity takes place within a wider social, environmental and economic context, and so any attempt at compiling a list of the laws which affect agriculture necessarily goes beyond the laws administered by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). The reader will find two lists of legislation: one of laws administered DAFF, and a second list of other legislation. The latter could be more exhaustive, but at the expense of its helpfulness.

Several websites will be of assistance to the reader, like, and Information can also be found on related / relevant websites e.g. to find out more about the Meat Safety Act, visit the website of the Red Meat Abattoir; if you are looking for information about the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), visit etc.

In no way is this chapter meant to take the place of professional legal aid, and you are encouraged to consult a qualified practitioner should you be requiring legal expertise.


2. Laws administered by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

Find "Legislation and legal procedures" under the "Resource Centre" option at

  • Agricultural Laws Extension Act, 1996 (Act 87 of 1996)
  • Agricultural Laws Nationalisation Act, 1998 (Act 72 of 1998)
  • Agricultural Pests Act, 1983 (Act 36 of 1983) introduces measures for the prevention and combating of agricultural pests.
  • Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992) provides for the establishment of an Agricultural Produce Agents Council (APAC) and fidelity funds. There is currently an amendment bill affecting this.
  • Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act 119 of 1990) provides for control over the sale and export of certain agricultural products and other related products, with a view to the maintenance of certain standards regarding the quality of products and packing, marking and labelling.
  • Agricultural Research Act, 1990 (Act 86 of 1990) establishes the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
  • Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984) – repealed by Animal Health Act, 2002
  • Animal Health Act, 2002 (Act of 2002) provides measures to promote animal health and control animal diseases. It assigns executive authority with regard to certain provisions of the Act to provinces, regulates the importation and exportation of animals, establishes animal health schemes, and provides for connected matters.
  • Animal Identification Act, 2002 (Act 6 of 2002), regarded as “the first line of defence against livestock theft”, deals with the compulsory marking of livestock.
  • Animal Improvement Act, 1988 (Act 62 of 1988) provides for the breeding, identification and utilisation of genetically superior animals in order to improve the production and performance of animals in the interest of the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith.
  • Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act 71 of 1962) consolidates and amends the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.
  • Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act 43 of 1983) (CARA) provides for control over the use of natural agricultural resources to promote the conservation of soil, water sources and vegetation, and the combating of weeds and invader plants.
  • Fencing Act, 1963 (Act 31 of 1963) consolidates the laws relating to fences and the fencing of farms and other holdings.
  • Fertilizer, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act 36 of 1947) regulates the registration of fertilisers, stock feeds, agricultural remedies, stock remedies, sterilising plants and pest control operators, and provides for control over the acquisition, disposal, sale and use of fertilisers, farm feeds, agricultural remedies and stock remedies.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms Act, 1997 (Act 15 of 1997) provides for the regulation of GMO activities in South Africa.
  • Groot Constantia Trust Act, 1993 (Act 38 of 1993)
  • Kwa-Zulu Cane Growers Association Act: Repeal Act, 2002 (Act 24 of 2002)
  • Liquor Products Act, 1989 (Act 60 of 1989) provides for the sale and production of certain liquor products, including their import and export.
  • Livestock Improvement Act (Act 25 Of 1977) – see Animal Improvement Act, 1998
  • Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act 18 of 1998) provides for the conservation of the marine ecosystem, the long-term sustainable use of marine living resources and the orderly access to exploitation, use and protection of certain marine living resources; and for the exercising of control over marine living resources in a fair and equitable manner for the benefit of all the citizens of South Africa. An amendment (2016) recognises small scale fishing as a sector.
  • Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 (Act 47 of 1996) authorised the establishment of regulatory measures to intervene in the marketing of agricultural products, including the introduction of levies on agricultural products; and to establish the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC).
  • Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act 40 of 2000) – replaces the Abattoir Hygiene Act (Act 121 of 1992). It provides for measures to promote meat safety and the safety of animal products; establish and maintain essential national standards in respect of abattoirs; regulate the import and export of meat and establish meat safety schemes.
  • National Fire Danger Rating System as per the National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 1998 (Act 101 of 1998)
  • National Forest Act, 1998 (Act 84 of 1998) allows for an exemption for the use and handling of protected trees and their products; and authorises the Minister to establish a trust, in respect of state forests under certain circumstances.
  • National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 1998 (Act 101 of 1998) reforms the law on veld and forest fires and repeals certain provisions of the Forest Act, 1984 (Act 122 of 1984).