White maize price at a 20-year high

The white maize price reached R5 020/t on 16 January 2015, the highest level achieved since trading in white maize started in 1996.

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Wandile Sihlobo, economist at Grain SA, said prices would remain high as there was limited global and local stock.

“There is no clarity yet as to where we will import from. Mexico and Zambia are large producers of white maize but Zambian production is already 30% down from a low harvest last season.”

According to Sihlobo, despite some parts of the country receiving rain in the past two weeks, it was too late to plant now.

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Lower LSM earners would be hit the hardest by supply constraints, with maize meal prices already 20% higher than last year and further increases of up to 40% expected.