News last update:6 Aug 2012

South African maize plantings rise

South African maize plantings will reach 3.2 million hectares in 2006/07. This is 57.6% more than the year before according to figures from the US Department of Agriculture.

The increase in maize area is mainly the effect of the growing demand of raw materials for the biofuel industry. According to Agri SA president Lourie Bosman, South African maize production could more than double over the next five years in response to this. The country is set to unveil its biofuels policy this year, and Bosman said it would be beneficial for the agriculture sector and secure badly-needed jobs.

Zimbabwe facing huge deficit
Meanwhile, neighbouring Zimbabwe is facing a huge maize deficit in the coming year due to disastrous maize production. Zimbabwe requires around 1.8mt of maize annually, but high prices in South Africa, a major supplier of maize to Zimbabwe, and foreign currency shortages would lead to a drop in imports, the US Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said. "Planned imports only cover 60% of the assessed gap of 850 000t, and by the end of December 2006, only 28% of these planned imports had been delivered," FEWSNET said. "It remains doubtful that Zimbabwe will be able to meet import goals," it added.

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