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Maize output seen rising 87% higher in 2017

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JOHANNESBURG – South Africa will likely harvest 14.54 million tonnes of maize in 2017, up 87% from a year ago after favourable conditions lifted yields, the government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said on Tuesday.

The third production forecast for the season, that’s more than market expectations of 14.175 million tonnes, could be the largest yield since 1981 when 14.656 million tonnes were reaped, the CEC said.

The crop will comprise an estimated 8.618 million tonnes of white maize, the staple mostly used for people to drink, and 5.917 million tonnes of yellow, the bulk of which works to animal feed.

The 2017 harvest will be almost twice the 2016 harvest of 7.78 million tonnes, when yields were influenced by a drought triggered by an El Nino weather pattern, pushing up food prices and fuelling inflation.

The staple white contract ending July found themselves 1.72% at R1 836 per tonne on Tuesday. The July contract scaled record peaks over R5 000 a tonne 15 months ago as a consequence of drought.

Increased rainfall in the maize belt in the summer growing season, brought on by a La Nina weather system, has grown the region of maize planted as well as yields, sending prices sharply lower.

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