SA could export maize again

Pictures: Bongani Hans

Pictures: Bongani Hans

Published Jan 11, 2017


Johannesburg – South Africa, the continent's largest

producer of maize, could return to being a net exporter of maize in the next

marketing year if the current rains continue in the next few months.

South Africa imported 36 464 tons of maize in the first

week of this year.

The country has had to import maize due to the severe

drought that has ravaged the country, especially the main maize-producing

provinces of the Free State and the North West.

According to data released on Tuesday by South African

Grain Information Services (Sagis), the country imported 32 421 tons of yellow

maize and 4 043 tons of white maize for the week ended January 6.

These numbers, however, show a significant decline from

the 82 932 tons of yellow maize and 41 320 of white maize the country imported

in the last week of December.

South Africa did not import wheat for the period under


Read also:  SA to import more than 2 milion tons of maize

It imported wheat in the last week of November last year

and exported 8 548 tons to the Southern African Development Community countries

in the last week of December, with Zimbabwe being the main beneficiary at 5 807


Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist at

Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), said Tuesday’s data showed there had

been activity in the market and he expected maize to benefit from the current


“The eastern and central parts of South Africa received

higher rainfall in December. As a result, maize crops are in a good condition

in these areas. Moreover, the forecast rainfall within the next two weeks could

lead to notable improvements in crop conditions throughout the country,”Sihlobo


He put the market estimates for the country’s 2016/17

maize production at between 11.7 million and 13 million tons. This is well

above last season’s production of 7.5 million tons.

If Sihlobo’s estimates prove to be true, South Africa

will be a net exporter of maize as the country’s annual consumption is 10.5

million tons. The National Crop Estimate will release its official crop

production later this month.


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