July 2, 2015 / 7:33 AM / in 4 years

South Africa to import white maize from Mexico: industry source

Scientists work in a field of maize plants at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in El Batan on the outskirts of Mexico City August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa will import about 50,000 tonnes of white maize from Mexico, an industry source said on Wednesday, in a bid to bulk up waning stocks as a scorching drought curbed domestic output.

The first shipment of the maize will arrive in the country in August with five more shipments expected between September and December, the source said.

South Africa’s government crops agency predicted on Tuesday that maize output for the current season would be down by more than a third to levels last seen in 2007 due to unfavourable weather.

In March Africa’s biggest producer of the staple food placed orders to import yellow maize for animal feed from Argentina.

Domestic maize prices have scaled to record highs of over 3,000 rand ($245) a tonne as a result, putting pressure on food prices and inflation in Africa’s most advanced economy.

Yellow maize is mainly used for animal feed in the poultry and pork industries while white maize is a staple for the poor majority and working class.

($1 = 12.2475 rand)

Editing by Greg Mahlich

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