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Maize forecast seen down slightly from previous

But bumper crop still expected.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to slightly lower its summer maize forecast when it gives its third estimate next week but a bumper harvest is still seen, a Reuters survey of four analysts and institutions showed on Thursday. 

The CEC, which gives its next forecast on Tuesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 14.175 million tonnes, about 1% lower than its previous estimate of 14.32 million tonnes.

This would still be over 82% more than the 7.78 million tonnes reaped last year, when drought hit the crop, pushing up food prices and inflation. The range was 13.5 to 14.6 million tonnes.

This season’s crop has benefited hugely from good rains but Wandile Sihlobo, an economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said yields might be depressed slightly in parts of the country’s maize belt where plantings were late and recent rainfall has been scattered.

The white maize contract due in July was 1.15% lower on Thursday at R1 879 a tonne, around 65% lower than record peaks of over R5 000 a tonne scaled early last year during the drought.

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