The latest grain forecast from Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) indicates that Zambia and Tanzania are expected to record bumper harvest.

The two southern African countries are expected to have a surplus in the 2016/17 marketing season, the research institute has predicted.

FEWS NET forecast says most southern African countries are expected to have maize deficits due to the El Niño-induced drought in the previous farming season.

“Every country in the region is expected to have a deficit during the 2016/17 marketing season, except Zambia and Tanzania.

South Africa, the main regional maize exporter, will have a deficit,” said FEWS NET latest update.

However, Zambia, which played an important regional role during the 2015/16 marketing season, will have limited volumes of exportable surpluses.

The region’s performance during the 2015/16 rainy season was among the worst in 30 years for many countries and was the second consecutive season which recorded below average maize production.

Meanwhile Tanzania is expected to export the majority of its maize surpluses to neighbouring countries in east Africa.

FEWS NET said the east Africa bloc’s harvest is not going to be adequate to meet requirements and a typical supply gaps is anticipated.

The maize prices are also expected to increase, as the lean season approaches and will be more variable than usual, due to unusual thin markets in the region.

FEWS NET said maize prices are expected to remain well above average throughout the 2016/17 marketing season.

The research institute says market monitoring should focus on the volumes and distribution of international imports by government interventions, and food assistance programming.

“Export parity prices and export volumes from South Africa and Zambia should also be monitored closely,” FEWS NET said.

The network said opportunities for local and regional procurement of maize for in-kind assistance programmes are limited.