More maize export markets needed to keep maize farming sustainable in SA

According to logistics, South African maize exports are doing well this month.

However, it is problematic that there is not enough orders, said Hampie Lourens, Managing Director of South African Bulk Terminals, which handles most of the country’s exports.

“The prices are too high to get greater exports and the stock restrictions will decrease by August. The prices need to decrease between R150 and R200/ton to encourage more exports.”

He said South Africa’s biggest exports are usually between May and September because America’s maize will reach the market in October and then competition would increase.

The most maize by far – 152 985 ton – has been exported in the week ending 21 July.

According to Wandile Sihlobo, agricultural economist from Agbiz, last weeks’ exports were 85% higher than the previous week, which was already the week with the biggest yellow maize export this season.

From the exported maize, 70 419 tons of white maize (46%) was exported to Kenya, while 39 974 tons of yellow maize (26%) was exported to South Korea.

Dr. John Purchase, Chief Executive of Agbiz, said nearly one third of the expected maize exports from the year – 703 000 ton – has already been exported during the first 11 weeks of the new marketing year and thus far, everything is going well.

Jannie de Villiers, chief executive of Grain SA, said that farmers want to see four million tons of maize exported  and not just two million tons.

“If only two million tons are exported, prices will remain under R2 000/ton and farmers can’t afford yet another season with low prices. If four million tons can be exported, prices will increase to above R2 000/ton. This will keep farms sustainable.”

He said more work was being done to open up more markets, especially regarding GM barriers and phytosanitary measures.

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