Maize and Wheat Millers Association Botswana (MWMA) has assured consumers that the dry weather conditions and excessive heat that has caused extensive damage to the maize crop in South Africa will not affect the grain supply to Botswana.
A press release from MWMA stated that the SA grain suppliers confirmed that they had sufficient export excess in white maize to cover Botswana’s needs . The press release stated that South Africa exported white maize to Botswana and other neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.
It said Botswana maize millers relied on South Africa for up to 95 per cent of their maize that constituted about 30 per cent of what South Africa exported in white maize to African countries. “According to Grain SA, due to the fact that the harvest this year yielded 30% less crop than the previous year, South Africa has started importing yellow maize from countries like Argentina and the Ukraine,” it states.
The statement noted that to predict the price of white maize for the year ahead is extremely difficult because maize prices are driven by the Safex Futures exchange in South Africa and it is further exposed to a host of other international market forces.
It said under the prevailing market and weather conditions it is however safe to predict that there will be an above inflationary increase in the cost of maize products in the foreseeable future.
The press statement notes that it does not help that Botswana is experiencing a drought season of its own as well and the local crop has taken considerable strain.
However it said although Botswana millers have committed to taking up the local crop through BAMB there is a lot less maize available which is sold to the millers at a premium to South African maize.
“Maize will be sourced and production will continue as necessary in order to meet local demand, we have an obligation as millers to ensure that we supply enough maize products throughout Botswana and we will certainly meet this commitment to the market.” The release further states that it is unfortunate however, that they are seeing major players in the retail and wholesale market importing maize meal at what they view as dumped prices.
The press release says although this may temporarily be seen to benefit the consumer, the predatory nature of this practice if allowed to continue, will have a detrimental long term effect on the milling industry and the market will be subjected to even higher than normal prices in the future. ENDS