South Africa Imports White Corn From The U.S. Due To Drought

First Posted: Apr 22, 2016 04:30 AM EDT

South Africa, which is named as the largest producer of corn in the continent, had to import white corn variety from the U.S. for the first time in 12 years as they battle the worst drought in more than a century. A total of 1,330 metric tons of white corn was imported in the week that ended on April 15.

The South African Grain Information Service in Pretoria said that it last imported these produce from the U.S. in the season that ended on April 2004, taking in a total of 32,937 tons of corn. Sadly, despite being the net exporter of agricultural products, South Africa has been struggling with very little rainfall since 1904 - their earliest known records.

With the drought also came damaged crops and raised prices, leading the country to import a possible 3.8 million tons of yellow and white corn to bolster their domestic supplies. Bloomberg News pointed out that the country's need for specific types of corn also comes with culture. The white variety is used to make pap porridge. In southern and eastern Africa, the yellow variety is grown to feed animals, which is unfortunate because the yellow corn is more popular overseas.

The price of corn in the U.S. has more than halved since 2012, but the cost of white corn in South Africa has doubled since last year, due to the continuing drought. Local white-corn fell 1.6 percent in prices, now costing about 4,440 rands ($310) per ton in Johannesburg. White corn, meanwhile, barely changed and is still at 3,182 rands per ton.

Prices for corn are likely to stay high for the rest of the year, but South Africa will not have to keep on importing their main produce - Agri Money noted that corn sowings could rebound to a 4-year-high by the end of the year with 3.10 million hectares. If normal climactic conditions come by the end of the El Niño  spell, the country should be able to return being the net exporter of corn in 2016-17.

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