JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s 2019 maize harvest forecast is expected to be 4% lower than July’s estimate after delayed plantings and lower grades from the Free State and North West provinces curbed yields, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.
The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to peg the harvest at 10.56 million tonnes, lower than its July estimate of 10.97 million tonnes, a poll of five traders and market analysts showed.
The CEC will provide its seventh production forecast for the 2018/19 season on Tuesday.
“White maize harvesting is experiencing grade problems with the latest and last hectares being harvested,” a trader said.
The poll sees the 2019 harvest consisting of 5.56 million tonnes of the food staple white maize and 5 million tonnes of yellow maize, which is used mainly in animal feed.
The estimate for the 2018/2019 season is 16% less than the 12.510 million tonnes harvested in the 2017/2018 season, after dry weather delayed plantings.
The crop is expected to be slightly above the country’s annual consumption of about 10 million tonnes.
Reporting by Onke Ngcuka, editing by Louise Heavens