CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — Sorghum production will continue to trend downward in South Africa, according to an Oct. 3 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA forecasts a 9% drop in 2018-19 to 100,000 tonnes from 109,855 tonnes in 2017-18 and sharply lower than the 152,000 tonnes harvested in 2016-17.

“Sorghum production has decreased dramatically over the past decade as producers preferred to plant more profitable crops like corn and oilseeds,” the USDA said. “As a result, South Africa moved from being a net exporter of sorghum to a net importer of sorghum.

“Furthermore, sorghum imports are expected to increase by 17% in 2018-19 to reach 70,000 tonnes.”

South Africa imported an estimated 60,000 tonnes of sorghum in 2017-18, 7% higher than the 55,824 tonnes imported in 2016-17, the USDA said.

The report noted that the United States is the major supplier of sorghum to South Africa, accounting for almost 100% of the country’s imports.