If recent rainfall is anything to go by, South Africa may soon be a net exporter of maize again.
The prolonged drought across many parts of southern Africa over the past two years has resulted in South Africa being forced to look to other countries to meet its food needs.
A report released by the Agricultural Business Chamber shows that South Africa's total maize imports continue to outpace exports but there is some good news.
This is the second season that South Africa has become a net importer of maize. In the week ended Jan 6, 2017, imports totalled more than 36,000 tons, of which 89 per cent was yellow maize imported from Argentina, while 11 per cent was white maize imported from Mexico and the United States.
Despite being a net importer this season, the country still managed to export some maize to other parts of Africa, totalling 13,785 tons.
Agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo says this may be the end of the drought. The maize crop in most provinces like Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State and Limpopo is in good condition with a potential for higher yields.
All this spells good news for South African consumers as food prices may ease later in 2017.
Food price inflation has been around 11 per cent on a yearly basis, making it more expensive to put food on the table. However, there is no immediate relief on the already high cost of food in sight.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK