corn drought
Drought-stricken South Africa imported corn to suffice its demand for the 2015-16 marketing year.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — A drought in South Africa affect the country’s 2015-16 market year corn production, forcing an import of about 3 million tonnes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) said in a Feb. 1 report. However, due to forecasted wet weather South Africa is forecast to increase its corn production 60%, to 12.8 million tonnes of corn. This increase would allow the country to export an estimated 1 million tonnes of corn in the 2016-17 market year and return to being a net exporter.

According to the FAS, the corn demand estimate for animal feed and human consumption increased by 100,000 tonnes each to 5.2 million tonnes and 4.9 million tonnes, respectively. This means that the total demand for corn is expected to drop only marginally in the 2015-16 market year, from the 10.5 million tonnes of corn consumed in the 2014-15 market year, despite the higher drought-induced corn prices.

With higher rainfall leading to increased production and thus relatively lower corn prices, the FAS forecasts a 2% increase in the commercial demand for corn in the 2016-17market year, to 10.6 million tonnes. It is expected that South Africa will use 5 million tonnes of corn for human consumption and 5.3 million tonnes of corn for animal feed, excluding corn utilized by the subsistence farming sectors and commercial on-farm usages.