22 September 1997
Weather system poised to hit SA crops

SBC Warburg predicts South African maize production will fall by 56%. This will produce a 0.8% decline in the countrys gross domestic product. Other estimates are far worse.

South Africa is preparing for the return of El Niño. The key effect of drought will be felt on the maize crop, the basic African food staple. It expects to export 8m tonnes of maize this year, in addition to feeding its own population. But in 1991-92 El Niño cut its maize production by two-thirds.

In the southern Afican region as a whole, maize production fell by 80% that year. Sugar, wheat and other crops are also expected to be hit by the phenomenon.

  • The Times 22/09/97 page 15