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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

04 January 2008



Impact of rising cereal prices on food import bills of Southern African countries
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Cereal export prices, particularly of wheat, maize and rice, have increased significantly in late 2007 as compared to the year before. This, combined with increases in oil prices and freight rates, has sharply driven up the cost of imports for food importing countries, putting a heavy financial burden on many low income food deficit countries. Simple calculations of this price change are presented in the tables and figure below.

Table 1: Indicative import parity prices at Durbin-Randfontein in South Africa

  Nov.2006 Nov. 2007 % Change
Maize 228 302 32%
Wheat 266 516 94%
Rice 421 489 16%
Average 305 436 43%
Sources: Maize (USA no3) and Wheat (US HRW No2) -SAGIS -Indicative Import parity price at Durbin-Randfontein from http://www.sagis.org.za/
Rice (Thailand white rice) fob Bangkok -FAO/GIEWS plus 38% (average import cost of wheat and maize)

Table 2: Southern Africa: 2007/08 net commercial import requirement of major cereals ('000 tonnes) and import bills (in Mill. US$) at Nov. 2007 indicative import parity prices a/

    Maize Wheat Rice Total net import requirements Total import bill 1/
1 Angola 102 425 230 757 363
2 Botswana 155 96 36 287 114
3 Lesotho 142 65 11 218 82
4 Madagascar 0 99 150 249 124
5 Malawi -510 60 1 -449 -123
6 Mauritius 86 162 70 318 144
7 Mozambique -105 410 340 645 346
8 Namibia 67 60 0 127 51
9 South Africa 0 1120 737 1857 938
10 Swaziland 80 41 13 134 52
11 Zambia -244 30 19 -195 -49
12 Zimbabwe 508 125 22 655 229
  Total incl. South Africa 280 2693 1629 4602 2271
  Total excl. South Africa 280 1573 892 2745 1333
a/ Excluding food aid requirements; Source: FAO/GIEWS
1/ At Nov. 2007 indicative import parity prices given in Table 1.

Figure 1: Southern Africa: 2007/08 cereal (maize, wheat and rice) import bills and changes due to increase in import parity prices of November 2007 versus that of November 2006 (assuming import parity prices in the region similar to that of South Africa)