Cereal Production in the Eastern Free State, 1981 – 2007: Can Agricultural Extension Deliver Food Security?


  • J.A. Van Niekerk University of the Free State
  • B. Conradie




Eastern Free State, Field crop, Legumes and oil seeds, Cereals, Production


Since 1989, South Africa's agricultural productivity growth has reached a standstill while the South African population has kept growing at 1.93% per annum. Although the country is a surplus maize producer, per capita maize production has fallen at -0.38% p.a. since 1989. A provincial breakdown of food grain production will allow the government to monitor future food security, making prompt interventions possible. In this region, we need interventions that can relieve the stresses on the already over-burned natural resources, and this can be implemented through agricultural extension by raising agricultural productivity. This paper examines the field crop production trends in the Eastern Free State province of South Africa for positive or negative trends at the district level. The data reveals a decline in cereal, legume, and oil seed production between 1981 and 2007. The negative trajectory we see in all crops in all districts is concerning. In most districts, the decline is due to fewer hectares planted, but unfavourable weather and the withdrawal of support by the government may also be contributing factors. This disastrous trend could be turned around by greater investment in farmer education and skills development in the public extension service.


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How to Cite

Van Niekerk, J., & Conradie, B. (2023). Cereal Production in the Eastern Free State, 1981 – 2007: Can Agricultural Extension Deliver Food Security?. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 51(2), 68–88. https://doi.org/10.17159/2413-3221/2023/v51n2a14653

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