Poverty headcount ratio at $5.50 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population)
Equivalent to 4,230 per worker per month.
WageIndicator Foundation, 2021
Equivalent to 4,596 South African rand per worker per month.
GLobal Living Wage Coalition, 2021
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
South Africa has a population of roughly 59.3 million, with nearly 67% of the population living in urban areas. The agricultural sector makes up less than 2% of the country’s GDP and employs 5% of the labour force. In South Africa there are nearly 2 million smallholders and roughly 35,000 commercial growers. However, the number of smallholders in South Africa has declined substantially over the last two decades with over half a million households having left the agricultural sector between 2011 and 2016.
Food insecurity and hunger are prevalent in South Africa. The transition away from smallholder and subsistence agriculture has created greater dependence on food purchasing, making citizens vulnerable to price hikes and nutritional insecurity. The reasoning behind the transitions away from agriculture are multifaceted and can be attributed to climate, economic, and socio-cultural transitions.  
The top five produced commodities in South Africa are sugar cane, maize, cow milk, potatoes and grapes. When arranged by export value the top commodities are oranges, wine, grapes, and maize, respectively.
The general minimum wage in South Africa is 21.69 (1.2 EUR) South African rand per hour or 4,229 South African rand (235 EUR ) per month, assuming 195 workhours per month. Regarding the agricultural sector, underpayment of wages is prevalent, with many owners of small farms not keeping track of worker hours, nor providing overtime benefits.
The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a living wage benchmark for Western Cape Province, in rural South Africa. The living wage is estimated to be 4,596 South African rand (255 EUR) per month based on a family of 4.5 with 1.64 workers. The area of Western Cape Province is a wine grape growing region, and this report identifies a living wage specifically for workers in the region.
This report intoduces a new socially-derived definition for a decent standard of living and elaborates upon its application to the South African context.