Maize in South Africa

Maize, known as “corn” in many parts of the world, is more than just a crop in South Africa—it’s a staple food, a significant economic contributor, and a symbol of the country’s agricultural prowess. South Africa is the leading producer of maize in Africa, generating about 8 million tons annually. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the maize market in South Africa, focusing on the price per bag and per ton, and the factors influencing these prices.

Maize in South Africa: A Staple Crop with Economic Significance

Maize is the most common cereal grain worldwide, and its economic importance cannot be overstated. In South Africa, maize is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of dishes, from pap (akamu) to corn pudding, tuwo, donkwa, Eko, and certain South-South soups made by blending the grains. Beyond human consumption, maize is a primary component in animal feed within the poultry industry, further underlining its economic significance.

Current Price of Maize in South Africa

The cost of maize in South Africa varies depending on the market and the type of maize—yellow or white. As of 2024, the average prices are as follows:

Type of Maize Average Price per 100kg Bag
Yellow Maize R$ 592- R$ 666
White Maize R$ 574-R$ 666

Compared to the previous year, the price has increased by 15 to 20 percent. However, in the North, where maize is largely produced, prices are relatively lower, with a bag costing between R$ 500 and R$ 518. The price per ton of maize has also seen significant changes over the years. In 2024, a ton of maize costs between R$ 3,404 and R$ 4,440 across various markets in the country.

Corn Market Outlook in South Africa

South Africa’s maize market is diverse, with several markets across the country. The bulk of the maize sold in these markets is transported from the Northern states, leading to price fluctuations due to high transportation costs. The prices of maize are categorized based on color; white maize is usually cheaper than yellow maize due to differences in demand. It’s important to note that maize is sold in wholesale in its raw form, measured in bags. A standard bag of maize in South Africa weighs 100kg.

Factors Affecting the Price of Maize in South Africa

Several factors influence the price of maize in South Africa. Seasonal availability and importation from countries like the US and Ukraine significantly affect the price. Import duties have also contributed to the increase in maize prices. Some sellers believe that a ban on imported maize would encourage local farmers to produce more, potentially reducing the price. However, maize farming comes with its own set of challenges, such as the crop’s sensitivity to drought. The South African government has invested heavily in the agricultural industry to enhance crop growth and animal rearing. Similar to the significant change in rice production through the Kebbi-Durban state partnership, there is hope for similar advancements in maize production.


In conclusion, the price of a bag of maize in South Africa is influenced by various factors, including the market, bargaining ability, and seasonal effects. Despite the current price hike, the maize business remains profitable due to constant demand. The price fluctuation impacts sellers and farmers, affecting their profitability. However, with the reduction in the price of fertilizers for local farmers by the federal government, there could be a potential drop in the price of maize. Furthermore, the price is likely to decrease during the maize season due to seasonal factors. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the maize market in South Africa, offering valuable insights for individuals interested in the agricultural sector, business opportunities, or simply understanding the cost of living in South Africa. By understanding the factors influencing the price of maize, one can make informed decisions and navigate the South African maize market effectively.