WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — South Africa’s corn production is expected to increase 16% in 2019-20, increasing exports to about 1 million tonnes, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Plantings are estimated at 2.6 million hectares, driven by increased local corn prices. Total production is estimated at 13.3 million tonnes, under normal climatic conditions and taking into account the subsistence farming sector.

In contrast, for the 2018-19 crop year, production is expected to be down 13% to 10.9 million tonnes due to drought. As a result, the nation will have to import about 500,000 tonnes of yellow corn, the USDA said.

On the other hand, the USDA estimates South Africa’s corn exports could reach 1 million tonnes, mainly white corn, as demand for imports in the region increased after the drought. With expected lower domestic usage of white corn for animal feed and a carry-over stock of about 1.8 million tons, South Africa will have enough white corn available to meet local demand and exports.

South Africa’s exports markets will include Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

In the 2017-18 market year, South Africa exported 2.1 million tonnes of corn consisting of 1.5 million tonnes of yellow corn and 544,000 tonnes of white corn.