Dry weather from an El Nino pattern reduced prospects for South Africa’s corn crop, increasing the region’s famine risk.

USDA, 1,000 metric tons
USDA, 1,000 metric tons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for Africa’s top grain-grower puts production of 8 million metric tons at the lowest since 2005. South Africa’s shrinking white-corn crop affects supplies of a staple food across the continent, especially among landlocked neighbors, where imports from other producers become more expensive to transport, said Maximo Torero, markets and trade director at the International Food Policy and Research Institute in Washington.

“Global corn reserves are OK, but with white corn, it’s different because South Africa is such an important producer,” Torero said.

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