Southern Africa nations facing food shortage

by World Grain Staff
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ROME, ITALY — Erratic rains will mean significant food supply shortages in southern Africa nations from July this year, the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) said on May 12.

“Of great concern is Zimbabwe, which is facing a looming huge food deficit due to imminent widespread crop failure,” the WFP said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg news agency. “By February 2015, an estimated 23 percent of cultivated land was considered lost.”

Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar are also likely to experience food-supply shortages, it said.

Zimbabwe will lose more than 300,000 hectares (741,316 acres) of its corn crop because of mid-season dry spells, resulting in a food shortfall that will require imports, the WFP said.

The worst drought since 1992 in South Africa, the continent’s biggest corn producer and traditional supplier of its neighbors, has damaged plants, with the nation predicting a
32% drop in the 2015 harvest to the smallest in eight years, Bloomberg said. Botswana said crops are showing signs of “total failure” due to below-average rainfall, while floods in Malawi and Mozambique have curbed production.

“The reduced maize production in South Africa will impact maize markets regionally by pushing up prices,” WFP said.

The price of white corn in South Africa has surged 29% so far this year, while that of the yellow variety gained 12% in the same period, Bloomberg said.

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