Makhado has the second biggest economy in Vhembe District. The sector, which contributed the most to the GVA in Makhado Municipality, is the Community Services (33%) followed by the Finance Sector (26%) and Trade Sector (15%). This shows the same trend as in the Limpopo Province where Mining is by far the largest contributor to the GVA. The contribution of Agriculture to the GVA has grown more on Provincial and District level than on National level. The mining sector has grown on National level as well as on District level while the manufacturing sector has grown slightly less on regional level.
Community service and trade sectors are the predominant employers within the study area, responsible for just over 27% and 19% of the active work force respectively. Agriculture is the third largest employer absorbing around 17% followed by the construction sector (8%), finance (5%), transport (5%), manufacturing (5%), and mining (1%).
Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors in Makhado, and it has a location quotient of 1.75.The area is one of the major producers of Macadamia Nuts in Limpopo Province, with a planted area of 5661.07 hectares. The nut is either exported out of the Municipality in its raw state or sold for further processing into oils. Makhado is also a major producer of avocados with a total planted area of 3005.65 hectares. Other subtropical fruit including mangoes, avocadoes and bananas are also grown in the area. In fact 12% of the total land area in Levubu is under the production of bananas. These sub-tropical fruits are also either sold to outside markets or used for further processing such as juices, achaar, dried fruit and pulp.
Mining sector in the area is currently dominated by medium and small-scale mining companies such as WG Wearne and Crystal Salt. These companies currently produce sand and salt respectively. There exist plenty opportunities for small-scale and large scale mining of minerals that can be found in the Schiel Complex and the Bandelier Complex. These minerals include Phosphate, Vermiculite, Gold, Magnetite, Mica, Limestone, Marble, Manganese, Graphite, Coal, Corundum, Copper, etc. Furthermore there are planed coal projects in the Mudimeli area (Makhado Colliery), Chapudi Coal Project. There is also a gas project to be constructed at the envisaged Makhado Colliery. All these projects are being developed by Coal of Africa.
The Tourism Sector has become increasingly important in the Municipality. The rich cultural heritage of the area, natural beauty, proximity to the N1, large dams (such as Albasini), waterfalls, breathing stone and the climate gives it competitive advantage in tourism. Various tourism routes exist in the area, such as the Ivory route, Ribolla Open Africa Route, Greater Mapubungwe Route, and the Soutpansberg Birding Route. Major tourism products in the area include Dzata Ruins and Schoemansdal Museum.
The manufacturing sector is mostly focussed on the processing of products from the agricultural sector. Agro-processing creates opportunities for skills developments and also supplies a market for small-scale farmers who currently do not have access to the market. There processing of timber is also being undertaken in the Municipality although there are more opportunities in this subsector.
Source: Makhado LED Strategy 2013