SA maize crop down a third - food shortage fears

Johannesburg - Southern Africa faces possible food shortages over the next few months due to a severe drought in the "maize belt" of South Africa, where a lack of rain had caused crop failure rates of over 50%, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.

In South Africa, the WFP said maize production was estimated to have dropped by a third compared with last year, putting it on track for a harvest of 9.665 million tons, its worst in eight years.

Besides South Africa, which produces more than 40% of regional maize, the drought was also likely to hit harvests in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi and Madagascar, the UN agency said in a report.

The problems in landlocked and impoverished Malawi were compounded by heavy rains and flooding in early January which destroyed crops and roads, it added.

Last month's outbreak of xenophobic riots in South Africa, in which at least seven foreigners were killed and thousands more forced to flee, might also lead to a drop in remittance flows from Africa's most advanced economy, adding to the problems of nearby countries, the WFP said.

"The rains experienced in late March and early April provided some relief to livestock farmers but arrived too late for both staple food and cash crops," the April assessment by the WFP's Food and Nutrition Security Working Group said.

"Of great concern is Zimbabwe, which is facing a looming huge food deficit due to imminent widespread crop failure," it added.

Countries in the region were likely to have to supplement their domestic production with increased imports, pushing up the cost of food, the WFP said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1286 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 7185 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1493 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.11
-0.1%
Rand - Pound
20.89
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.63
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.07
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.2%
Platinum
1,022.67
+1.1%
Palladium
1,663.57
-0.3%
Gold
1,914.38
+0.1%
Silver
23.50
+0.1%
Brent Crude
82.17
-0.8%
Top 40
73,629
0.0%
All Share
79,802
0.0%
Resource 10
74,686
0.0%
Industrial 25
102,624
0.0%
Financial 15
16,551
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE