Vhembe is a prolific fresh produce grower, with largescale exports testifying to the quality of production and the efficiency of many farmers. Vhembe produces no less than 4,4% of South Africa's total agricultural output, including 8,4% of the country's sub-tropical fruit and 6,3% of its citrus, according to Kayamandi Development Services which has drawn up Vhembe District Municipality's Local Economic Development Strategy.
Like so many other parts of South Africa, agricultural production in Vhembe is undertaken by a small number of relatively large, highly productive commercial producers and a multitude of fragmented, small-scale farmers. Vhembe is becoming a base for lucrative exports of exotic trees and ornamental shrubs. Foreign investors, in partnership with a local community, have revived a run-down, 250 hectare tree and shrub cultivation estate near Thohoyandou with a view to serving landscaping markets in the Middle East which is experiencing a boom in property development.
De Beers' Venetia diamond mine which has invested some R4 billion to extend its open pit operations and is now considering spending another R6 billion to dig for diamonds underground. De Beers is keen to procure more goods and services from Vhembe suppliers in line with the Vhembe LED Programme and the Limpopo Provincial Growth and Development Strategy.Vhembe has an abundance of coal, but mining the deposits is a challenge which is only now being taken up. With some 2 billion tons of reserves, the expansive Soutpansberg coal field which stretches across central Vhembe has only one mine: Exxaro's Tshikondeni colliery which produces hard coking coal for the South African steel industry but which has a remaining life of less than 10 years.