Regional governments are to hold a crisis meeting in Johannesburg next month following signs that a virulent pest attacking maize crops may have found its way to South Africa.
Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said South Africa would produce between 11.7 million and 13 million tons of maize this season, with domestic requirements of about 10.5 million tons.
"All of that was under the assumption we would get good rains until the end of February. The million-plus surplus of maize would assist the region, but there has been an outbreak of fall armyworm in Limpopo, North West and the Free State. An assessment of whether this is indeed new fall armyworm is also under way by the ministry of agriculture," Sihlobo said.
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