All you need to know about Census of Commercial Agriculture

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Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has embarked on a full-scale census of commercial agriculture (registered for tax), which will end in October 2019.

All you need to know about Census of Commercial Agriculture
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Stats SA officials are contacting commercial farmers via telephone and supplying two options (self-enumeration or visit by Stats SA’s official) for the completion of CoCA 2017.

READ Farmers urged to participate in the Producer/Farmer Register

CoCA 2017 will collect information such as:

  • Farm size, land use, land tenure, farm losses;
  • Crop production, livestock numbers and use of machinery;
  • Employment as of 30 June 2018;
  • Registration details; and
  • Financial information for the financial year-end which ends on any date between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018 (e.g. income, expenditure, capital expenditure and carrying value of assets).

First results from the census are expected to be released in November 2019.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Scope of CoCA

The agricultural census will cover commercial farmers, which are farms registered for tax.

Why conduct CoCA for 2017? 

The last CoCA was conducted for 2007, and one was conducted for 2002. The census for 2012 (the census is scheduled to take place every five years) was not funded and didn’t take place. Thus, the 2017 census will enable us to cover the ten-year gap. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends that a country conducts a census of agriculture at least once every ten years.

What kind of information will be required from farmers?

CoCA 2017 will collect information such as farm size, land use, land tenure, farm losses, crop production, livestock numbers, the use of machinery and financials (e.g. income, expenditure, capital expenditure and carrying value of assets).

Who is Statistics South Africa?

Stats SA is an organisation mandated by government in terms of the Statistics Act (Act No. 6 of 1999) to collect, process, analyse and disseminate official statistics. The organisation collects data on the population, economy, unemployment and price changes as measured by inflation on a continuous basis.

Why the need for accurate information?

Agriculture is important for the country in terms of food security, contribution to the economy and job creation. Accurate information is vital for planning and decision-making on policy research and development of the agricultural sector.

What is in it for a commercial farmer?

A farmer can use the data to make business decisions on what, where and when to invest. The information will help farmers’ associations/unions to influence policy-making decisions on agricultural development in the country.

Who will be required to complete a questionnaire?

All commercial farmers who engage in any form of farming, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry.

Will my information be kept confidential?

Stats SA is governed by the Statistics Act (Act No. 6 of 1999), and information about individuals and businesses must be treated as strictly confidential.

How will the data be collected?

Farming enterprises are being contacted via telephone and given an option of completing the questionnaire through e-mail or a visit by a Stats SA official where the data will be collected via Computer-assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI), using tablets.

How do I participate in CoCA 2017?

By completing and submitting the questionnaire within the agreed timelines if you have opted for self-enumeration. Farmers who prefer to be visited, are urged to answer all questions that will be asked by the data collectors.

How do I identify the data collectors?

All Stats SA data collectors will have an official Stats SA identification card (ID) displaying the Stats SA logo. The vehicles they use will also display the Stats SA logo.

What if I refuse to participate?

Commercial farmers must answer all questions. As per section 16 of the above Act, the provision of information sought is compulsory. Refusing to participate is a criminal offence in terms of the Statistics Act.

For any queries or assistance, contact Stats SA:

Toll-free number: 0800 212 169

Email: [email protected]


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