PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — Despite high commodity prices to provide incentive for corn and wheat planting, acreage for the two crops in South Africa is expected to remain flat in the 2022-23 marketing year due to the lack of availability and high cost of inputs, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA said the cost of farming inputs, especially fertilizer, more than doubled this past year, increasing the risk of production in a weather-dependent industry. As a result, the USDA forecasts that South Africa’s corn area will stay flat in in 2022-23, while wheat area will increase by a modest 10%.

However, the report noted that South Africa should maintain its status as a net exporter of corn with exports of 2.5 million tonnes, while wheat and wheat products imports should remain at 1.7 million tonnes.

South Africa’s rice imports are expected to increase by 3% to 1.1 million tonnes on a marginal growth in demand.

Assuming normal weather conditions and including the subsistence farming sector, South Africa’s total corn crop for 2022-23 could reach 15.6 million tonnes, which is slightly larger than the expected corn crop of 15.1 million in 2021-22. The USDA projects South Africa’s wheat output at 2.1 million tonnes in 2022-23, after producing 2.3 million tonnes in 2021-22.