List of most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa (2024)

List of most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa (2024)

The growing population of South Africa and the increasing preference for health and fitness have led to an ever-escalating demand for various foods, including vegetables. Fortunately, growing vegetables is not hard. Discover the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa today.

tomatoes and onions are among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
Ripe tomatoes and onions on a table. Photo:, @Pixabay, @Arina Krasnikova (modified by author)
Source: UGC


If you are a farmer or aspiring farmer, you should know the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa. This list of vegetables is based on the demand in the market, relatively short growing time, and ease of planting them. These veggies are widely consumed because they are nutritious and tasty.

Most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa

There is increased sensitisation on healthy eating in contemporary SA. Many people, especially those in rural areas, practise commercial agriculture. The weather conditions in the country favour the growth of vegetables.

Running a vegetable farming business can earn you lots of cash, but only if you understand the market conditions. Some veggies are more profitable than others.

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The successful growth of veggies depends on multiple factors, including the soil, weather, labour, cost of inputs, and market demand. Fortunately, South Africa's climate favours small and large-scale farming. Below is a look at the veggies that will bring you the best profit margin.

Baby carrots

Baby carrots are among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
Baby carrots and other foods packed as snacks in plastic containers. Photo:, @Bora C
Source: UGC

If you are into small-scale farming, you should consider farming baby carrots for a profit. Baby carrots are carrots harvested before reaching maturity, so they are smaller in size than mature carrots.

They are a popular addition to lunch boxes and are commonly blended into smoothies or added to vegetable trays. Baby carrots are quite popular because they are rich in vitamins A and K and potassium. Baby carrots are ready for harvest about 30 to 40 days after planting.


lettuce is among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
Lettuce leaves in a pink bowl. Photo:, @Daian Gan
Source: UGC

Lettuce is a leafy vegetable commonly used to give salads their base. Lettuce contains a large amount of vitamin A and small amounts of vitamin C and iron.

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This veggie does not take long to grow, and its demand is ever-increasing, especially because salads are widely consumed in SA. Lettuces with loose leaves are ready to pick in four to six weeks. On the other hand, hearting lettuces take around 10 to 14 weeks to be ready for harvest.


Radishes in a white bowl
Radishes in a white bowl. Photo:, @Lum3n
Source: UGC

The radish is an edible root vegetable of the mustard family. Its leaves are also consumed. Radishes are a good source of natural nitrates that help improve blood flow.

The leaves are good for gut health and reducing obesity. Garden radishes are usually ready for harvest in about three to five weeks after planting.


Squash is among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
An orange squash on a black metallic surface. Photo:, @Pixabay
Source: UGC

Squash is a fast-growing crop that can give you a profit within 70 days of planting. South Africans love Cucurbita pepo, a squash species that is considered a gem among many communities.

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In addition to being easy to cook and tasty, squash is healthy. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The antioxidants in squash play an important role in reducing oxidative stress.


Cucumbers are among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
Sliced cucumbers on a cream surface. Photo:, @Alena Darmel
Source: UGC

Cucumbers are tropical veggies that thrive when the weather is hot and the water is plentiful. They grow quickly with little care as long as they are watered every week.

These veggies have become a staple in South African households. Cucumbers are commonly consumed in salads. Many people enjoy them pickled. It takes 50 to 70 days from the date of planting for these crops to be ready for harvest.

Bush beans

bush beans are among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
A close-up of bush beans in a straw basket. Photo:, @Magda Ehlers
Source: UGC

Bush beans are among the best crops for people starting commercial farming. Starting them from seed is easy for inexperienced farmers. Bush beans take about 50 to 55 days to mature.

Besides being easy to grow, bush beans are a highly productive vegetable. This makes them a good choice for small farms.

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microgreens are the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
People in gloves handling microgreens on a white table. Photo:, @Mikhail Nilov
Source: UGC

Microgreens are vegetable greens harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed with one set of true leaves. These crops are commonly used as a visual, flavour, and texture enhancement.

They are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper. Microgreens also contain high amounts of antioxidants than the same quantity of mature greens, hence their popularity.


Tomatoes are among the most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
A pile of ripe tomatoes. Photo:, @Pixabay
Source: UGC

Did you know it takes 60 to 100 days for tomatoes to mature? Tomatoes are a staple in South African cuisine. This means that they are almost always in high demand. When growing these plants, select a site with full sun.


a close-up shot of red onions as most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa
A close-up shot of red onions. Photo:, @Kindel Media
Source: UGC

Onions are an essential ingredient in South African foods. They are used in a variety of dishes, from hot curries to soups and salads. Onions require 90 to 100 days to mature from seed, which is around four months.

Other vegetables to consider farming

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In addition to the above veggies, you should also consider those listed below.

  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Capsicum (green, yellow, and red)
  • Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Truffles
  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes
  • Spinach

Which are the main cash crops in South Africa?

The main cash crops grown in South Africa are corn, wheat, soybeans, sorghum, and barley. Others are pulses, fruits and vegetables, and cotton.

What vegetables are most in demand in South Africa?

The most in-demand vegetables in South Africa include carrots, lettuce, squash, cucumber, and tomatoes. Many types of leafy vegetables are also in high demand.

Which vegetable cultivation is most profitable?

Microgreens are arguably the most profitable veggies. They are normally cultivated indoors in growing trays. As a result, they are scalable. Microgreens are also a fantastic choice for urban gardeners who lack plenty of outdoor growing space.

What is the most profitable fruit in South Africa?

The most profitable fruits in SA include avocado, mangoes, bananas, papaya, and passion fruits.

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What are the top 3 crops in South Africa?

The country's largest outputs by volume are maize, sugarcane, and potatoes.

What type of farmer makes the most money?

All types of farmers can make profits as long as they produce produce that is in demand. All farmers are encouraged to do some research beforehand to understand the market dynamics before investing their money and labour in agriculture.

Growing vegetables profitably depends on various factors, including suitable land, climate, soil, labour cost, inputs, and market demand. The most profitable vegetables to grow in South Africa include onions, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, carrots, and microgreens.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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