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Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

  • Supply and Market Outlook
  • Southern Africa
  • May 20, 2023
Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook Update

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  • Key Messages
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    Key Messages
    • At the conclusion of Marketing Year (MY) 2022/23[1] maize supplies in Southern Africa were close to the five-year average, but 10 percent lower than MY 2021/22 (Figure 1). However, aggregate maize supplies were sufficient to meet regional demand and supply export markets outside the region. The 2023 main season cereal harvest will improve market deliveries as the lean season comes to an end. The ongoing maize harvest is likely to be below average in areas of southern Mozambique, southern and western Zambia, southern Zimbabwe, parts of the Grand South and eastern Madagascar, Botswana, northern Namibia, and southern Angola. These areas had poor rainfall performance due to extended dry periods, above-average temperatures, and early cessation of the rainfall season. The eastern parts of the region experienced above-average rainfall favorable for crop production.

    • By the end of March 2023, South Africa had exported 3.15 million MT of maize nearly matching the total export levels at the same time in 2021/22 MY. Notably, the volumes of white maize exports doubled relative to the previous season because of import demand from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Meanwhile, exports of yellow maize to Europe and Asia shrunk by a third compared to the previous season because of strong competition from other exporters.  South Africa is expected to maintain its status as a net exporter of corn in MY 2023/24. For Zambia, while borders officially remained open to trade, attempts were made to restrict maize cross-border trade through more limited issuance of export permits and movement restrictions in April because remaining marketable and reserve stock had declined.

    • Maize prices in local currencies followed the seasonal pattern for much of the 2022/23 marketing year and were above the five-year average in most markets. Although prices were stable immediately after harvest they gained an upward momentum from July 2022 to August 2022 in Dar es Salaam, Randfontein, and Antananarivo markets. The seasonal rise started late in October 2022 for Lusaka and Lilongwe because of reduced market demand. Maize prices peaked from November to December 2022 in most markets but peaked in January 2023 in Lusaka and Antananarivo markets. By April 2023, prices continued decreasing seasonally across markets as the main harvest sets in. Nevertheless, these prices remain above last year and the five-year average, underpinned by tight domestic supplies, currency depreciation, and high prices of energy that have inflated production and distribution costs. Although food price pressures are expected to moderate with ongoing harvests, elevated food inflation levels will weigh on household’s purchasing power in many geographies.


    The marketing year (MY) begins May 1, 2022 and ends April 30, 2023.

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