A spokesperson for the organisation told Africa Check that it had cited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as the source of the claim. Health of Mother Earth also shared a research article from 2010 as more evidence.

IITA, also based in Nigeria, focuses on agricultural research. According to the organisation, Nigeria was the largest African producer of corn in 2018, with over 33 million tonnes, followed by South Africa and Egypt. At the time, Africa produced 75 million tonnes of maize.

This data is based on the institution’s own research, a spokesperson said. They didn’t have newer data, but “to the best of our knowledge Nigeria is still the largest producer of corn in Africa”, they said, but could not provide further evidence.

The article from 2010 focused on maize viruses, which it said were poorly understood. It listed the top 20 maize producers in Africa, with Nigeria in first place, producing 7.8 million tonnes of maize annually.

South Africa and Egypt ranked second and third respectively. The source of the data was given as the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 

South Africa produces most corn in Africa, followed by Nigeria

We contacted the FAO for more data and context, but have yet to hear back.

We also asked the US department of agriculture. It referred us to its International Production Assessment Division (Ipad) for data on global corn output.

For the 2023/24 corn marketing year, which runs from 1 September, South Africa is forecast to be the world’s ninth largest producer with 16.8 million metric tonnes, Curt Reynolds, a senior crop analyst, told Africa Check.

Nigeria is 13th, with 12 million metric tonnes.

According to Ipad data, this pattern was repeated in the three previous years, with South Africa being the main corn producer in Africa, followed by Nigeria. While we have asked Ipad for older data, the most recent data does not support this claim.

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