GrainSA undeterred by halt of grain export to Zimbabwe

GrainSA undeterred by halt of grain export to Zimbabwe


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GRAIN South Africa (GrainSA) is undeterred by the halt of grain exports to Zimbabwe, the biggest importer of local grain, which stopped buying in anticipation of a bumper harvest.

GrainSA this week said it was looking at alternative markets and was confident that South Africa’s maize excesses would be absorbed by other markets at market related prices.

“Most probable there will be a shift in markets, surplus white maize will go into the feed industry and yellow maize will be exported through the harbours. This can provide some logistical challenges and bottlenecks if not managed well,” said GrainSA’s Toit Wessels.

Of the 2.6 million tons of maize that South Africa exported between May 2020 and April this year, about 20 percent of the volume went to Zimbabwe, making it the single-largest maize export market for South Africa in the 2020/21 marketing year.

Wessels said the local price was always relevant to the international prices which is based on parity prices.

He said the prices were already at export parity levels and in some instances below export parity.

“Thus there will be no significant changes to prices except if the CBOT prices and exchange rate change,” he said.

“It is true that Zimbabwe was for the past two seasons a prominent importer of maize from South Africa. This assisted in managing the surplus in the country. Any market loss will have an impact. However, there are more than sufficient markets to export maize to. The biggest challenge is that this is not normally the case for white maize.”

Other notable export markets are Taiwan, South Korea, Botswana, Vietnam and Japan.

According to data from the US Department of Agriculture, the domestic crop could reach 2.7 million tons, the largest harvest since 1984.

In another development, GrainSA said it had to defer for the second year the 2021 Nampo Harvest Day due to concerns over curbing the Covid-19 virus. The event, which attracts more than 750 exhibitors from various sections of the local and international agricultural industry, showcases more than R1.5 billion of products and services.

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