Monday, 21 December 2015

Fanie Brink

Fanie Brink: Worst drought in 20+ years. Food crisis imminent.
Dec 18 2015 07:06


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During my brief time working with the team at Bloomberg, the one thing I picked up from the news editor was his obsession with maize futures prices. Some may wonder why but it is an important barometer used to measure possible future food price increases as maize is the basic ingredient in much of what we eat.

When the price of bread goes up, it’s felt across the country. And a bigger concern is that one of the root causes of the Arab Spring had to do with massively increased food prices.

A concerned Fanie Brink, an independent agriculture economist, who travels on a road to Parys, says the current maize crop is non-existent where it normally has two metre high plants at this time of the year.

He says the current drought could end up worse than what was experienced in 1991/92 and an IMF/World Bank intervention is needed. – Stuart Lowman

By Fanie Brink*

“The present drought in the summer rainfall region of South Africa can easily be worse than the previous severe drought during the 1991/92 production season.

Only 3.3 million tons of maize were produced during that season on 4.2 million hectares that were planted with an average yield of 0.78 tons per hectare,” according to Fanie Brink, an independent agricultural economist.

About 4 million tons of maize had to be imported and yellow maize had to be blended with white maize for human consumption which was not very acceptable by the majority of the consumers in the country.

“I have driven from Bothaville to Pretoria last week Thursday and I haven’t seen one single maize plant along the road to Parys where normally the plants are almost two meters high this time during the season.”

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