JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African farmers are expected to harvest 84 percent more maize this season compared with last season as yields were boosted by increased rains, a Reuters survey of five traders and market analysts showed on Friday.
The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its second production forecast for the 2017 crop on Tuesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 14.35 million tonnes compared with 7.78 million tonnes last year.
The range was 14 million to 15.19 million hectares. The poll is 3 percent higher than the CEC’s last forecast of 13.918 million hectares following improved weather conditions brought by a La Nina weather system that is usually associated with wetter and cooler weather.
“Perfect growing weather in February is the big reason for the increase,” said one trader.
Improved weather conditions, since an El Nino induced drought which saw the driest year on record in 2015 and low maize yields, has lowered prices and helped improve the inflation outlook.
The white maize contract ending in May fell to more than a two and a half year low on Friday after it closed 5.49 percent down to 1,722 rand.