Despite better harvests, SA to still import maize

Grain SA says a ‘severe’ amount of maize will have to be imported to meet local demand.

FILE: Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Grain South Africa says that despite better than expected harvests a "severe" amount of maize will have to be imported to meet local demand.

Most farmers have buckled under a severe and ongoing drought.

This has led to an increase in food prices, particularly maize.

Earlier this year, Grain SA's Corne Louw said South Africa will have to import at least half of its 10 million ton maize demand.

He now says the harvest has been better than expected.

"According to our calculations we still need to import about 3.4 million tons of maize."

Louw says the import logistics will also be a 'challenge'.

"Looking at it, theoretically it is definitely possible to do it, but it's going to take fine planning until the next harvest arrives to get all this import to South Africa."

He says rainfall is expected to be better for next year's harvest, but the timing will be crucial for a successful harvest.