South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, imported the yellow variety for the first time in almost a year as a local drought curbs production.
The country bought 21,137 metric tons from Argentina in the week ended April 3, the Pretoria-based South African Grain Information Service said in statement on website. The nation last imported this type, used mainly to feed animals, in the week to April 18, 2014. The white variety is used to make a staple food.
South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of white corn after Mexico, is importing the yellow grain as the worst drought since 1992 destroyed crops in the two largest producing provinces. The government-convened Crop Estimates Committee predicts a total harvest of 9.67 million tons this year, the smallest since 2007.
The nation will need to import 943,000 tons of yellow corn, worth about $147 million at current international prices, in the year to March 2016, Grain SA, a farmers’ lobby group, said last month.
“If the crop estimate stays the same and it is indeed what is produced, then we do not need to import any more than that,” Brink van Wyk, a trader at BVG (Pty) Ltd., said by mobile phone on Wednesday.