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This report provides a summary of changes to regional maize availability estimates and markets in countries monitored by FEWS NET and WFP in southern Africa. It updates FEWS NET’s Regional Maize Supply and Market Outlook Report published in August 2018. It also draws insights on staple food trade from the FEWS NET/WFP Informal Cross Border Monitoring System. To learn more about typical market conditions in Southern Africa, readers are invited to explore the Southern Africa Regional Maize Market Fundamentals Summary.
Regional maize supplies will remain adequate and are expected to satisfy needs for the remainder of the 2018/19 marketing year. Maize surplus estimates are significantly above average in South Africa and the country will remain the main supplier to structurally deficit countries in the region.
Maize has generally been able to move from surplus to deficit areas in the region throughout MY 2018/19 except in Zambia where export restrictions were put in place earlier in the marketing year. Intra-regional trade flows have been weaker relative to 2017/18 levels. South Africa has been exporting outside the region due to favorable marketing conditions (exportable surpluses and competitive price levels). Maize prices in the current marketing year are above previous year levels owing to a lower 2018 harvest.
MY 2018/19 maize closing stocks are likely to be above average for the region and will be supported by large South African stocks. These stocks could potentially offset regional maize deficits from an expected below-average 2019 harvest (except Malawi and Mozambique), owing to dry conditions in southern parts of the region including surplus producing areas of South Africa and Zambia.
Structurally grain deficit countries such as DRC (Haut Katanga), Lesotho, Madagascar and Zimbabwe could see significant import gaps in the event of particularly poor outcomes for the 2018/19 production year. Several factors, including, but not limited to government trade policies and funding levels, maize availability and prices at source markets, and the capacity of regional supply chains to leverage global commodity management facilities will support or hinder the extent to which these import gaps can be covered at the country level.