File image: Reuters

Johannesburg - White corn in South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of the grain, rose in Johannesburg trading, extending a second week of increases.

The contract for March delivery, the most active, advanced 1.2 percent to 3,081 rand ($276) a metric ton by the noon close on the South African Futures Exchange, taking the gain this week to 2.8 percent.

It reached a record 3,109 rand a ton on January 23.

South Africa will have a corn shortfall of about 500,000 tons when the new harvest begins in April, according to Grain SA, which represents commercial farmers.

Supplies of white and yellow corn were hampered by low rainfall in the 2012 and 2013 planting seasons, particularly in the North West province.

Cornmeal made from the white variety is used for a staple food known as pap in South Africa, while the yellow type is mostly fed to animals.

White corn comprises only 13 percent of global output, according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.

Southern African countries’ preference for this type means they are less likely to benefit from a slump in global prices that’s been spurred by record harvests of corn, mainly yellow, from the US to Brazil.

South Africa’s stocks of white corn tumbled 30 percent to 1.84 million tons in December from a year earlier, the Pretoria- based Grain Information Service said on its website today after the the end of trading.

Inventories of the yellow variety declined 18 percent to 1.33 million tons, it said.

Yellow corn for July delivery climbed 0.6 percent to 2,371 rand a ton. - Bloomberg News