The first statistics on commercial agriculture in South Africa since 1993 showed the potato industry contributed 1.5 billion rand (US$248.3 million) towards a horticultural crop worth 14 billion rand (US$2.31 billion).
The potato crop in 2002 - when the survey was conducted - was only just beaten by citrus and wine grape crops generating 1.7 billion rand (US$281.4 million). The apple crop trailed by 11.38 million rand (US$246.3 million).
Disturbingly, Statistics South Africa said the country's farmers suffered 1.23 billion rand (US$205.5 million) in losses to crime.
Stock theft cost 483 million rand (US$80.7 million) and crop theft another 443 million rand (US$74 million). Some 204 million rand (US$34.1 million) was lost through equipment theft while burglaries cost 99 million rand (US$16.5 million).
The crime losses represented about 28 percent of agriculture's total losses of 4.3 billion rand (US$718.5 million).