February 13, 2015

13/02/2015: Irreversible damage to South African grains threatens food price

Hot, dry weather has caused irreversible damage to some South African corn and oilseed crops and the next two weeks may determine food prices in the coming year, a farmers’ association said, according to Bloomberg.
An aerial survey of the northwest Free State and the North West provinces was conducted on Thursday morning, Grain SA said in a statement. While rain in the next week can at best lead to a “break even” situation for farmers, it’s unlikely as very little precipitation is forecast, it said.


South Africa is the continent’s largest producer of corn. White and yellow varieties of the grain have surged to the highest in at least 11 months in Johannesburg. Persistent dryness in key growing areas may have “tragic” consequences for the farming industry, the farmers’ group said last week.

“We have seen large areas where the damage is already irreversible,” Jannie de Villiers, chief executive officer of Grain SA, said in the statement. 

“The summer grains are in a critical stage and the next fourteen days will determine the fate of South African food prices over the next 12 months.”

White corn in western areas will be among crops most hurt, it said. The grain type, used as staple food for human consumption, rallied 25 percent this month and climbed 4.7 percent on Thursday amid extended daily trading limits on the South African Futures Exchange. Yellow corn futures, used as animal feed, are at the highest in more than a year.

There’s a less than 10 percent chance of a surplus corn crop and many hectares of sunflowers have died without forming flowers, Grain SA said. Some farmers in western regions couldn’t get crop insurance because areas were deemed too risky, it said.

Read the article HERE.

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