Written by on May 10, 2019

SOUTH Africa has halted maize exports to international markets due to weakening prices, says the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET).
The development, according to FEWS NET, would be a potential boon for grain-deficit countries in the Southern African region facing another poor farming season due to erratic rains.
“At US$0.20 and US$0.22 per kg, the competitiveness of South Africa’s white and yellow maize grain prices weakened against the United States and most Latin American countries like Argentine where prices are trending at US$0.17.
“However, the situation is not all gloom and doom for South Africa as its stocks are set to satisfy the needs in grain-deficit SADC countries,” says FEWS NET in its latest bulletin.
Maize is the most important grain crop in South Africa, being both the major feed grain and the staple food for the majority of the South African population. About 60% of maize produced in South Africa is white and the other 40% is yellow maize.
Additionally, that nation’s maize industry was important to the economy both as an employer and earner of foreign currency.
FEWS NET estimated South Africa’s total 2017/18 maize exports at 428779 tons, which equaled 19% of the season export forecast of 2.2 million tons.
Rains experienced last summer had helped to revive the nation’s agricultural sector and the crop estimate committee (CEC) predicted that the country will harvest a record crop of 15.63 million tons this year.
In Zambia maize grain prices were stable while increasing rapidly in other neighbouring countries where supplies had dwindled.
The favourable export conditions buoyed the Zambian government earlier this year to lift a long-standing moratorium but were shortly reversed following concerns of the need to first satisfy local consumption.

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