Food crisis fears as maize harvest expected to be low

FEBRUARY 19, 2015

South African maize farmers say extreme heat and dry conditions this season are causing the crop to deteriorate rapidly – raising fears that imports may be necessary which may result in high food prices.

CEO of Grain SA, Jannie de Villiers, says the crisis is worse in white maize production areas. Some farmers in Bloemfontein have already lost half their crop.

De Villiers says the expectation of a surplus maize crop is less than 10%.

“If it doesn’t rain for the rest of the season we probably will not have enough moisture to plant in the next season. And we will also experience a lot of losses in the farming sector which means they will not be able to access finance crop financing to do the crops in the next year. So it will affect our ability to produce in the next season,” he told the SABC.

“For the consumers of white maize we will see prices increasing and the yellow maize going into the feeds will affect all the diary poultry and the most products and we will probably see high food prices in the next 12 months.”

Grain SA is expected to announce production figures for this season on Thursday.