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Reuters (File photo) / Farmers work on a land outside Lichtenburg, a maize-growing area in the North West province, South Africa November 26, 2015.
South Africa’s record maize harvest this year is expected to double last year’s yield after good weather boosted production, a Reuters poll of four traders and analysts showed on Monday.
The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its sixth production forecast for the 2017 crop on Wednesday, is expected to peg the harvest at 15.77 million tonnes, up 51 percent from the 7.78 million tonnes last year when an El Nino-triggered drought hit yields and plantings.
The 2017 crop which will surpass the previous record of 14.656 million tonnes in 1981, is expected to consist of 9.564 million tonnes of white maize and 6.206 million tonnes of the yellow variety, used mostly for animal feed.
“From a production perspective it’s been a fantastic year for maize. The harvest process is in full swing and there are exceptional yields across the country,” said Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the agricultural business chamber.
Higher crop yields have kept prices depressed, with the white maize futures contract due in September down 66 percent from its peak of 5,376 rand a tonne hit in January last year to close at 1,840 rand on Monday.Source: Reuters