Grain SA warns of further increases in maize, wheat prices

South African traders have had to import 770,000 tons this season.

Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Grain South Africa has warned of further increases in the price of wheat and maize after the value of the rand fell to record lows last week.

Due to the current drought on the maize belt, South African traders have moved from exporting two million tons of maize every year to importing 770,000 tons this season.

Grain SA says for this season, they forecast that South Africa would import two million tons of wheat, at a cost of about R5.5 billion.

But economist Wandile Sihlobo says only half a million of the two million tons of wheat have arrived in the country and this means their projections have changed.

"We are looking at spending close to R6 billion for wheat this year because the volume has increased and the currency has weakened."

Yesterday, Grain SA said the cost of importing maize into the country had increased by 15 percent since President Jacob Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister.