SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, is set to double production of the white variety next year if rains from the anticipated La Nina weather event come to end the worst drought on record, a grains trader from BVG said.
The nation would probably produce 6-million to 6.5-million tonnes of white maize in 2017 if rains fell, Brink van Wyk of BVG said on Wednesday in an e-mailed response to questions.
Local farmers would probably harvest 3.1-million tonnes of white corn this season, or 53% less than a year earlier, the nation’s Crop Estimates Committee said in July.
“The fact that there are indications of a La Nina developing also creates expectations of an above-average crop,” Van Wyk said. “With good rainfall, prices should go down from current levels, even to export parity if it is a really big crop.”
Meteorologists forecast an increasing likelihood of the rain- and flood-inducing La Nina taking place from about October in SA, the Agricultural Business Chamber said.
The El Nino-induced drought has damaged crops and herds and raised food prices. The price of white maize has more than doubled since the start of 2015 and the country is set to produce the smallest crop of the white and yellow varieties since 2008 this year.
White maize for delivery in July 2017 is at R2,855/tonne on the South African Futures Exchange — 34% lower than the December contract’s price of R4,304/tonne.
Outside of Southern Africa, only Mexico is a major producer of white maize, and it does not have a lot to export, according to Oxfam.