International Grain Council expects 14% decline in SA maize crop | - South Africa News

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The International Grains Council expects South Africa’s maize production to decline by 14percent to 10.7million tons for the 2018/19 season. Photo: Reuters
DURBAN – The International Grains Council expects South Africa’s maize production to decline by 14percent to 10.7million tons for the 2018/19 season due to a reduction in area planted and expected poor yields in some areas. However, the 10.7million tons figure is marginally higher than the Crop Estimates Committee’s estimate of 10.5million tons for the 2018/19 production season.

Paul Makube, a senior agricultural economist at FNB, said yesterday that part of the decline could also be attributed to dryness in some parts of the country.

“South Africa experienced little rain in some parts of the Free State and North West provinces and this has led to lower-than-expected yields. Some of the plantations were also damaged by frost. Having said that, the country has sufficient stock piles well into the 2019/20 season,” Makube said.

He added that the 3million tons carry-over maize stock would push the overall stock to about 13million tons.

“Actually we expect the country to show a surplus of stock going into the 2019/20 season as the situation is not dire but we might see a very tight surplus in that regard,” he said. With the country going to plantation season in September or early October, the weather patterns will play a role about the maize production going forward.

South Africa is not the only country that experienced lower than normal rainfall during the 2019/20 season. Countries such as Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe also recorded below-average rainfall, which has led to dryness, according to Wandile Sihlobo of Agricultural Business Chamber.

“Weeks of below-average rainfall during the summer has strengthened dryness in Angola, Namibia, southern Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa,” he said.

He noted that as a result Zambia’s maize crop was also expected to take a knock in the 2018/19 production season to roughly 2.4 million tons, which was 33percent lower than the previous season, according to data from the International Grains Council.

As for South Africa, Sihlobo said while 10.7million tons expected was a welcome development, they remained concerned about maize yield expectations in the western parts of South Africa.


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