The Citizen (KZN)

Millers in Zim look to Brazil for corn

- Bloomberg

Zimbabwe is considerin­g importing corn from Brazil for the first time since 2014 as the El Niño weather pattern withers crops in the country and its neighbours.

The dry spell triggered by the phenomenon has slashed South Africa’s corn crop by at least 20% and Zimbabwe’s by about 60%.

Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have declared states of national disaster because of the crop failures.

Normally, the three nations are self-sufficient or can meet the bulk of their own needs with occasional shortfalls covered by imports from South Africa, the biggest producer in the region. This may be difficult this year with SA producing less.

“I will be heading a delegation to Sao Paulo later this month to look for in excess of 300 000 tons of maize,” said Tafadzwa Musarara,

chairman of Zimbabwe’s Grain Millers Associatio­n, using the local term for corn. The associatio­n represents the country’s privately-owned grain millers who are authorised to import corn.

White corn is a staple in southern Africa used to make meals such as pap and sadza, while the yellow variety is used for animal feed. Unlike yellow corn, which is readily available internatio­nally, white isn’t. The imports are likely to be more costly than those from

South Africa because they will need to be transporte­d by sea and will take longer to deliver.

Still, Zimbabwe’s approach is timeous, said Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultur­al Business Chamber of South Africa.

“This is a progressiv­e step as regional maize supplies will be tight from the third quarter of this year into the first quarter of 2025,” he said in a response to queries.

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