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Nigeria most likely to harvest 68% more maize

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JOHANNESBURG – South Africa farmers are expected to harvest 68% more maize this holiday season as increased rainfall has boosted plantings, a Reuters poll of six traders and market analysts showed on Friday.

The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which can provide its first production forecast for any 2017 crop , is seen pegging the harvest at 13.11 million tonnes in contrast to 7.78 million tonnes this past year.

The 2017 summer harvest is expected to include 7.44 million tonnes of white maize and 5.67 million tonnes in the yellow variety following rains brought on by a La Nina weather system that is certainly connected to milder temperatures and wetter conditions in the region.

It have been “perfect growing weather in the maize areas with sufficient rains assures that no less than 14 million tons,” said one trader.

An El Nino-triggered drought across southern Africa hit output with all the 2016 maize harvest 22% less than the 9.955 million tonnes reaped in 2015, triggering imports of maize and pushing up food prices and inflation.

White maize futures surged to R5 400 a tonne in January 2016, based on Thomson Reuters’ data. They currently trade at R2 030 per tonne.

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