UN food agencies estimate, the number of people affected by El Niño/La Niña could reach 100 million globally, and 40 million in East and Southern Africa alone. Small scale subsistence farmers in rural have been particularly hard hit by El Niño. South Africa which is usually a net exporter of maize, may be forced to import 3.8-million tons of white and yellow maize this year. White maize traded in early July for R4 540 ($313) a ton in South Africa, compared to R2,500 ($172) in “normal years.”
However, in South Africa meteorologist are forecasting a 75% chance of La Niña towards the end of 2016. This could normalise rainfalls and maize prices. But La Niña weather patterns in Africa could also exceed historical rainfall averages, leading to floods and crop damage.