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Drought-stricken South Africa under pressure to feed Zimbabwe

As hot, dry weather cuts corn yields.

South Africa, which is the continent’s biggest corn producer and is suffering the worst drought in memory, may need to help neighbouring Zimbabwe with corn supplies as a drought cuts yields throughout the region, a grains and oilseeds farmers’ body said.

Zimbabwe will probably produce 200 000 metric tons, said Grain SA, South Africa’s largest representative of corn farmers, which cited data from South Africa’s Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy. That would be the smallest crop since at least 1961, data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation and the US Department of Agriculture showed. The country needs 1.1 million tons to 2 million tons of corn in 2016-17.

Zimbabwe traditionally relies on South Africa and Zambia for corn, which is used to make a staple food. The biggest nation in the region last year suffered its lowest rainfall since records began in 1904, with Zambia stepping in to provide supplies to countries in the area, but dry spells have now also curbed agricultural output in Zambia, where the 2016 harvest may drop about 30% to the smallest since 2009. 

South Africa may have to import 3.8 million tons of corn in the year to April 2017 as the drought cuts this year’s harvest to 7.44 million tons, the smallest since 2007. Grain SA’s import estimate includes about 810 000 tons to be supplied to the Southern African Development Community countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, but doesn’t account for Zimbabwe’s needs because it estimated Zambia would fill the requirement.

“Zambia stocks are down, which lessens its ability to sufficiently supply regional markets,” said Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at Grain SA. “What all this means is that there will be additional pressure on the South African side.”

The broader region may have to import as much as 10.9 million tons of grains such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, according to Senzeni Zokwana, South Africa’s agriculture minister.

©2016 Bloomberg News

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Why should we? Every day farmers in this country are encouraged to produce food by the politicians that want us off the land. They want it back to distribute to the cadres who have no clue about producing food. This last drought should have discouraged a few from wanting to farm. As has been said, “You listening Ju Ju?” and to the others who “wunt” I ask you are you hungry or are you talking with your mouth full? If you are hungry then get off your government sponsored butt and find a job. If your mouth is full, remember that the steak or pap you are eating was produced by a farmer who put his capital on the line to gamble with the weather to produce the crop. Maybe he got up in the middle of the night to assist the cow giving birth in the snow or rain, that calf is now the t bone on your plate. Again why should we feed Zimbabwe, Bob messed it up let Bob fix it. They are all the same just like Zuma last week, his call for us all have to help fix what he messed up.

Why doesn’t the government of Zimbabwe simply go to the granaries and withdraw some of the enormous surpluses grown in previous years by the world leading white farmers they have in large numbers?
Oh, hang on a moment……..

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