The performance of agriculture in South Africa has to be seen in the context of the economic history of the country, which saw heavy investment in (white) commercial agriculture, a key constituency of the apartheid state, through most of the twentieth century. The state supported farmers through legislation such as the Cooperative Societies Act (1925) and the Marketing Act (1968), through investment in research and development, infrastructure, extension services and the settlement of farmers, and through protection of domestic markets from international competition. At the same time, a range of measures, such as the Land Act (1913) and the creation of the homelands, were put in place to suppress black farmers, both in the commercial farming sector and the communal areas of the former homelands. Four events between 1973 and 1976 catalysed a number of significant political, social and economic changes in South Africa that heralded a new approach to agricultural policy. These were: the labour unrest and ‘unlawful’ strikes by black trade unions in the Durban region in 1973; the OPEC oil crisis of 1973; the coup d’ etat in Lisbon in April 1974 that resulted in South Africa’s abortive invasion of Angola in 1975; and the Soweto students’ uprising of June 1976. By 1976, the economy had fallen into recession, which turned into a period of prolonged stagflation that lasted until 1994. The late 1970s saw a shift in economic policy with a stronger focus on the deregulation of the financial markets, which, in turn initiated a process of deregulation in the agricultural sector that was partially completed by the early 1990s. However, with the advent of democracy in 1994, and the appointment of the first African National Congress (ANC) Minister of Agriculture in 1996, change started to take place much more rapidly. The first purpose of this report is to summarise the performance of the agricultural sector between 1994 and 2008, and to examine the relationship between policy and performance. Accordingly, the first part of the report analyses commercial agriculture, followed by an overview of farming in the communal areas of the former homelands. The second purpose of this report is to examine the connection between agricultural production and food security.