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Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

  • Supply and Market Outlook
  • Southern Africa
  • April 23, 2024
Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

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  • Key Messages
  • Partners
    Catholic Relief Services
    Key Messages
    • Supplies from the 2024 cereal harvest are expected to be insufficient to cover regional requirements for Marketing Year (MY) 2024/25 due to extended dry periods, high temperatures, and early end of the rainy season driven by El Niño conditions (Figure 1). Apart from Tanzania and Madagascar, all countries in the region will have below average staple production in MY 2024/25. Malawi is expected to be 45 percent below the five-year average, Mozambique 41 percent, South Africa 10 percent, Zimbabwe 55 percent, and Zambia 34 percent.
    • While intra-regional trade will help to alleviate maize deficits in the region, it will not meet overall regional needs; an estimated 5 million tons (at minimum) of imported maize will be necessary to meet regional demand. Imports will likely remain below the six million-plus tons imported following the strong El Niño in 2015/16. Due to the reduced maize availability in 2024, prices in most markets are projected to increase atypically early after a brief period of stabilization. Increases are expected to be most pronounced in the deficit-producing regions of southern Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.
    • As the Marketing Year (MY) 2023/24 concludes, maize supplies in Southern Africa are 12.3 percent higher than the five-year average and 8.5 percent higher than MY 2022/23 (Figure 2). MY 2023/24 ending stocks are estimated to be above average. 
    • By the end of March 2024, South Africa had exported 3.2 million MT of maize at a slightly quicker pace than at the same time in MY 2022/23. Of this total, 1.4 million MT was delivered to the SADC region, and 72 percent was white maize.  There have been no formal exports of maize grain from Zambia since April 2023. Tanzania has been an active exporter of maize to the region following an above-average 2023 harvest. An estimated 296,850 MT was exported from Tanzania since May 2023 to Kenya, Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, and Malawi. 
    • Maize prices in local currencies increased seasonally for much of the MY 2023/24 as the lean season progressed and market supplies dwindled. Prices were above the previous year and five-year average in most markets. Reference prices in Randfontein for white maize increased significantly during this period due to strong export demand from the region.
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