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The sub-Saharan Africa Maize Trade and its Imbalances

South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia are the major maize producers and exporters in the region. For their part Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique are often the importers. At the regional level, sub-Saharan Africa’s aggregate maize imports amount to an average of 3.4 million tonnes a year, according to data from the International Grains Council. This is both white and yellow maize, with most being white maize for human consumption. Overall, these maize market dynamics are worth monitoring, specifically from South Africa’s perspective, as they signal that the sub-Saharan maize demand in the 2022/23 marketing year could be much larger than the previous season. This could be the case especially if Zambia’s maize production comes out lower than the 2021/22 season, which is likely if we use the South African maize production conditions as a barometer for the region. Such a potential increase in the region’s maize imports would have implication for prices.