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Limpopo Region

IDC-funded agencies

Limpopo is South Africa's northernmost province and is seen as the gateway to the rest of Africa. With a population of nearly 5.5 million people living in an area of 125 755 square kilometres, it is the fifth largest of the country's nine provinces.

It has the highest proportion of rural to urban dwellers, and only about 10 percent of its population is urbanised.

Limpopo is bordered by Botswana to the west, Zimbabwe to the north and Mozambique to the east. These borders makes it favourably situated for economic co-operation with other parts of southern Africa. The Great North Road, an important route into Africa, runs through the centre of the province.

Limpopo has rich mineral deposits, including platinum group metals, iron ore, chromium, high- and middle-grade coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate and copper, as well as mineral reserves like gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon and mica. Mining contributes over a fifth of the provincial economy.

Yet it is a typical developing area, exporting primary products and importing manufactured goods and services. It has a high potential for development, with resources such as tourism, rain-fed agriculture, minerals and abundant labour offering excellent investment opportunities.

Agriculture also plays a significant role in the province's economy. Sunflowers, cotton, maize and peanuts are cultivated around Bela-Bela and Modimolle, which is also known for its table-grape crop. Tzaneen is also at the centre of extensive tea and coffee plantations.

Tropical fruit, such as bananas, litchis, pineapples, mangoes and pawpaws, as well as a variety of nuts, are grown around Tzaneen and Makhado. More than 45 percent of the more than R2-billion annual turnover of the Joburg Market – formerly known as the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market – comes from Limpopo. The province produces the bulk of the country's mangoes, papayas, tea, citrus, bananas, and litchis. The largest tomato farm in South Africa, ZZ2, is located in Limpopo.

In addition to commercial agriculture, subsistence farming is the mainstay of a large section of the rural population. A typical bushveld area, extensive ranching takes place in the region, which is also prominent hunting country. About 80 percent of South Africa's hunting industry is in Limpopo.



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