Fin24

SA's maize crop down

2011-12-02 08:19

Johannesburg - The May 2010-April 2011 maize harvest was down by almost 20% from the previous season, Business Report wrote on Friday.

The Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) blamed the decrease on unfavourable weather conditions.

South Africa reaped 10.36 million tonnes of maize in the 2010/11 season against 12.815 million tonnes the previous year.

This was lower than the committee's final forecast of 10.608 million tonnes.

The CEC said unpredictable weather patterns affected the crop.

"In some areas there have been prolonged dry spells, followed by unpredictable rainy periods, which contributed to yield losses for most of the crops, as well as harvesting difficulties," the committee said in a statement.

The SA Grain Information Service reported farmers had brought 9.515 million tonnes of maize to market by the week of November 25.

As Africa's biggest maize producer, South Africa had attracted new buyers from outside the continent, including South Korea, Japan, Kuwait, Taiwan, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal and Venezuela.

The industry now feared that most of the maize has been committed for exports, leaving the country with less for its local consumption, Business Report said.