South Africa is experiencing the most severe drought period in decades, reports the FAZ newspaper on February 29th 2016. Seven of nine provinces have already been declared disaster areas. The cause of the drought is the global weather phenomenon El Nino, which induced among other things extreme temperature increases and also caused that almost two-thirds of the maize fields could not have been tilled yet.
Maize, in particular the white and more expensive type, is one of the staple foods in South Africa. By now, its prices rose in January 2016 by 140 percent compared to the end of the year 2014. Yellow maize, so far primarily fed to animals, is equally expensive and unaffordable for farmers. Extensive rice imports are impeded by a weakening national currency in South Africa and will not be able to compensate the crop losses.
Read more (some sources are only avalaible in German):
Die Dürre hat Südafrika fest im Griff. F.A.Z. vom 29. Januar 2016. www.faz.net
Students4Kids. „Best Practices“ – Nixtamalization – an ancient processing technology of maize to prevent malnutrition