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South African Corn Exports Decline 27% in Season

South Africa, the continent’s biggest producer of corn, exported 27 percent less this season compared with a year earlier, when shipments were the highest in at least nine years.

The nation shipped 1.79 million metric tons of corn in the year through April 26, compared with 2.46 million tons a year earlier, preliminary figures published on the Pretoria-based South African Grain Information Service’s website show. White-corn shipments declined 19 percent to 1.4 million tons, while exports of the yellow variety fell 45 percent to 392,095 tons, it said.

Farmers found buyers in markets including Italy, South Korea, Kuwait, Taiwan and Spain in 2011 after a year earlier producing the biggest crop since 1982, depressing prices and making South African corn attractive to overseas markets. The country last year set up a committee that will start collating data on intended shipments to help prevent price swings and excessive exports that could threaten local food supply.

South Africa imported 10,562 tons of the white variety compared 133,771 tons a year earlier. The country brought in no yellow corn, used as animal feed.

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