Johannesburg - The number of both farms and farmworkers in South Africa has both dropped significantly since 1993, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.
"The number of people employed on commercial farms has dropped by 27.1%," it said in a statement on the findings of its latest South Africa Survey.
"Between 1993 and 2007, the number of people employed on commercial farms dropped from 1.1 million to 796 806."
The same trend was echoed in the number of farms, which declined from 57 987 in 1993 to 39 982 in 2007, a decrease of 31%.
"It is likely that there is increasing mechanisation on farms leading to a decline in the number of farmworkers," said Marius Roodt, a researcher at the institute.
"Economies of scale leading to farms merging is probably another reason for the decline in the numbers of farms."
The institute said Statistics SA data showed that all provinces, except Gauteng, had seen a drop in the number of people working on farms.
In Gauteng the number of people working on farms in 1993 was 34 302.
This increased by 2%, to 34 936, in 2007. This figure accounted for only about 4% of commercial farmworkers in the country.
The institute said Mpumalanga saw the biggest decline in the number of farmworkers, down by 45% over the same period.
The number of farmworkers declined by 39% in both the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal between 1993 and 2007.
All provinces saw a decline in the number of farms.
The biggest decline was in Limpopo, which saw the number of farms drop from 5 053 in 1993 to 2 657 in 2007, a decrease of 47%.
The smallest drop was in Gauteng, which saw a drop of 5% from 2 500 in 1993 to 2 378 in 2007.