To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

May 04, 2008

South Africa will not stop grain exports to stabilise domestic prices

South Africa would not join China in curbing grain exports to cap domestic prices, as the move may discourage farmers from boosting output, Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana said.

“We don’t believe banning exports is going to help us in the long run,” Xingwana said in an interview in Tokyo.

SA is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of maize and Africa’s biggest producer.

Prices of maize, wheat and rice rose to records this year as countries including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt and India imposed export taxes or limited shipments to cool inflation and secure domestic supplies. SA may sell about 10% of its crop abroad this year.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions started nationwide protests last week against spiralling food and energy prices.

“The most effective way to curb food inflation is to boost production,” said Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at commodity broker Okachi in Tokyo. “Export restrictions are not a solution to the problem.”

The price of white maize has tripled over the past three years. Restricting exports “will lower production once farmers know that they can only produce for the limited market internally and have lost markets outside”, Xingwana said.

SA would export more than 1-million tons of maize this year, mainly to southern Africa, the minister said. This was enough to meet demand in countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

“We will continue, if we have a surplus, to export to the countries where we were exporting before,” Xingwana said. “We believe in the long run the best way to stabilise food prices is to increase production,” she said.

Soaring food prices have spurred social unrest in countries such as Haiti and Egypt.

China imposed a 5% tax on maize and rice exports as well as a 20% levy on wheat from
January 1. Kazakhstan will ban wheat exports until at least September 1, it said this month. India banned rice exports in February.

Xingwana said SA would not use maize as a feedstock to produce biofuels because of food security needs. SA has set a target for biofuels to account for 2% of total fuel consumption by 2013 but has excluded maize from the plan.

Farmers group Grain SA says the policy should be scrapped because demand for maize for biofuels would bolster production of the crop.

“Corn will not be used for biofuels because we believe it is the staple food, not only for SA, but also for many countries in Africa,” Xingwana said.

Business Day

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP