Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa Rain Forecast a Boost for Drought-Stricken Farmers

  • Showers likely in main corn-growing areas as planting starts
  • Country's worst drought in more than 20 years prompts imports

South Africa, the continent’s largest producer of corn, is forecast to get rain in the main growing areas over the next two days, curbing a drought and helping farmers who have started preparing for next season’s crop.

The town of Kroonstad in the Free State province, the region responsible for 53 percent of the nation’s crop in 2014, is likely to get 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) of rain Friday according to the South African Weather Service. The area may also get 10 millimeters on Saturday, while 10 millimeters are forecast for Potchefstroom in the North West province Friday and 15 millimeters for Saturday. The province produced 36 percent of the nation’s grain last year.

"This would be favorable as some producers will soon start with soil preparation processes for the next season," Wandile Sihlobo an economist at Grain SA, said in a daily market report.

South Africa imported corn for the first time in 11 months in March as the worst drought since 1992 damaged plants and yielded below-average yields.

The Crop Estimates Committee predicts this season’s crop will be 9.84 million metric tons, the smallest since 7.13 million tons in 2007.

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