Johannesburg - South African stockpiles of white corn, used as a staple food for the country’s citizens, will be more than cut in half by the drought that’s ravaging the nation’s crops.

White corn closing-stockpiles will drop 66 percent to 440 464 metric tons by the end of the season that finishes on April 30 2016, according to a report from the Grain & Oilseed Supply & Demand Estimates Committee published on Tuesday.

Yellow corn stockpiles are predicted to fall 24 percent to 774,845 tons, according to the committee, whose report was published on the National Agricultural Marketing Council’s website. Combined corn inventories will drop 47 percent to 1 215 309 tons.

The 2015 corn crop in the country, the continent’s largest producer of the grain, may shrink 32 percent after hot, dry conditions scorched fields, the Crop Estimates Committee said on February 26. The crops committee put the harvest at 9.67 million tons, the smallest since 2007, raising concerns about food costs for neighbouring countries that rely on the nation for grain supplies.

The price for white corn surged 24 percent this year, while the yellow type, used mostly for animal feed, climbed 8.6 percent. The country may need to import about 1.65 million tons of yellow corn, according to Grain SA.