Traditionally and exporter of maize, South Africa has now started importing the grain as result of the worst drought the region has experienced in 15 years.
John Purchase, the general manager of Grain SA, said that the shortage of maize would drive up prices of all food that contains maize as well as the cost of feeding poultry and cattle.
South Africa was normally an exporter of maize to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland and sometimes supplied to Zimbabwe, Kenya and other countries.
Neels Ferreira, Chairman of Grain SA, said producers in the summer crop areas planted relatively late this season, expecting good rains early this year. Over the past few weeks, the crops in many areas had literally been scorched and even if good rains should fall soon, would be too late to benefit many farmers.
Other crops such as sorghum, sunflower and soya beans are also likely to show a significant drop in yields.