Agricultural Economist

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the South African economy, supplying food, fibre, fertilizers and fuel products for local and export markets. Agricultural economics involves studying these markets to optimise and advise the stakeholders in farming activities.

Agricultural economists study economic and financial trends and patterns in local and global markets, develop market forecasts and advise producers in the agricultural value chain to improve production yield and profitability. They make input into and develop national, regional and global policies for the sustainable growth of agriculture and the economy. Agricultural economists could also focus on the interactions between economic trends and environmental impact and propose more sustainable production processes.

Agricultural economists work mainly in an office environment and could also spend some time in client environments like farms, production or processing plants when consulting and advising farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.


Agricultural economists must have a comprehensive knowledge of economic trends, patterns, practices and policies related to agriculture, and will additionally benefit from:

  • Strong mathematical and statistical skills
  • Extensive research competence
  • Excellent analytical skills in micro and macroeconomic trends
  • Good verbal and written communication and presentation skills


Advise on the production, manufacturing and distribution of agricultural products, policy and costs

Conduct research related to agricultural markets

Analyse economic patterns and trends and identify opportunities for agricultural development

Develop costing models for the efficient use of resources


B.Agric., B.Agric. (Hons), M.Agric. in Agricultural Economics at UFH and UFS

B.Com., B.Com. (Hons), M.Com. in Agricultural Economics at NWU and UP

B.Sc.Agric., B.Sc.Agric.(Hons), M.Sc.Agric. in Agricultural Economics at NWU, SU, UFH, UFS, UKZN, Univen and UP


National, provincial and local government.

Financial and banking institutions.

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

Research institutions.

Various organisations along the agriculture value chain.

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