South Africa’s Top Corn Producing State Declares Drought Disaster
The government of South Africa’s top producing corn state has declared itself in a drought disaster with all districts affected.
The country’s Free State Agriculture Department has stated that even if the region receives sporadic rain, the drought will not be relieved.
The current drought – the worst the country has seen since 1992, has reduced production in the Free State, which supplied 44% of South Africa’s 2014 corn crop, and the North West provinces, which together accounted for nearly two thirds of the country’s corn output last year, driving South Africa to become a corn importer.
The Crop Estimates Committee forecasts a corn harvest of 9.84 million tons this season – the lowest output since 2007, after last year’s harvest was the highest in 33 years at 14.3 million tons.
Because of the conditions, domestic prices of white corn, used to make a local staple called ‘pap’, climbed 48% this year, while prices of yellow corn, used for animal feed have risen 34%.
Other oilseed crops, such as sunflowers, are also expected to be severely affected this year, causing the price of basic commodities to soar, according to Mafa Mokoaqo, manager of the Free State Agriculture Department.