by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – REGIONAL supplies of the staple maize are projected to decline to their lowest level this month but it is not all gloom and doom as South Africa’s stocks are set to satisfy needs in grain-deficit countries for the remainder of the 2018/19 farming season.
In what might also come as a blessing in disguise for the drought-prone Southern African bloc, South Africa’s exports to the international market will likely decline in the coming months due to less competitive prices.
This is according to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) after year another unfavourable farming season mostly due to erratic rains.
The positive developments come despite South Africa expecting below-average maize harvests alongside Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to FEW NET, maize supplies in the region were falling seasonally on major markets in the region as the lean season peaked.
South Africa was exporting regionally to grain deficit countries as its international exports fell relative from their December 2018 levels.
FEW NET reported export parity prices for white maize grain increased marginally in January and were 55 percent above their year-earlier levels.
At between US$0,20 and 0,22 per kg, the competitiveness of South Africa’s white and yellow maize grain prices weakened against US and Argentinean prices that were trending at US$ 0,17.
Locally, maize grain prices were stable in Zambia and Tanzania while increasing rapidly in Malawi and Zimbabwe as supplies dwindled.
In Zimbabwe, maize grain prices increased by up to 87 percent and were respectively 197 and 155 percent above their 2018- and five-year average levels partly owing to ongoing fiscal and monetary challenges.
In Malawi, maize grain prices increased by up to 31 percent as market supplied declined sharply. In Mozambique, maize prices were increased by up to 44 percent and were above levels recorded a year earlier.
Tanzania has ample supplies compared to previous seasons.
– CAJ News