Zimbabwe will probably produce 200,000 metric tons, said Grain SA, South Africaâ€™s largest representative of corn farmers, which cited data fromÂ South Africaâ€™s Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy.
That would be the smallest crop since at least 1961, data from the United Nationsâ€™ Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed. The country needs 1.1 million tons to 2 million tons of corn in 2016-17.
Zimbabwe traditionally relies on South Africa and Zambia for corn, which is used to make a staple food.
The biggest nation in the region last year suffered its lowest rainfall since records began in 1904, with Zambia stepping in to provide supplies to countries in the area, but dry spells have now also curbed agricultural output in Zambia, where the 2016 harvest may drop about 30 percent to the smallest since 2009.
South Africa may have to import 3.8 million tons of corn in the year to April 2017 as the drought cuts this yearâ€™s harvest to 7.44 million tons, the smallest since 2007.
Grain SAâ€™s import estimate includes about 810,000 tons to be supplied to the SADC countries ofÂ Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, but doesnâ€™t account for Zimbabweâ€™s needs because it estimated Zambia would fill the requirement.
â€œZambia stocks are down, which lessens its ability to sufficiently supply regional markets,â€ saidÂ Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at Grain SA. â€œWhat all this means is that there will be additional pressure on the South African side.â€
The broader region may have to import as much as 10.9 million tons of grains such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, according to Senzeni Zokwana, South Africaâ€™s agriculture minister.
Post published in: Agriculture