White or yellow? South Africans face corn conundrum as drought hits crop

miércoles 20 de enero de 2016 09:02 GYT

* S.Africa's staple maize crop threatened by drought

* Maize prices at record highs, shortage of white variety looms

* Consumers prefer white, have cultural aversion to yellow

* But shortage may force yellow on to their tables

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 20 (Reuters) - South Africa's rainbow nation faces a drought-induced corn conundrum about the colour of its staple, a starchy cake-like mixture derived from maize: white, yellow or a mix of the two?

In South Africa, white maize is made into what is known locally known as "pap", the main source of calories for many households. The yellow variety is used almost exclusively as animal feed.

But a shortage of white maize looms after South Africa experienced its driest year on record in 2015. Prices for both have soared to record highs but yellow maize remains cheaper and can be imported from a variety of countries, unlike the white.

People in the outside world, many of whom happily eat yellow maize, may wonder what the fuss is all about - Italians consider their yellow maize version, polenta, a bit of a delicacy. But South Africans have a cultural aversion to eating a food they consider fit only for livestock, for all its nutritional merits.   Continuación...