June 24, 2019 / 2:55 PM / a month ago

South Africa to raise 2019 maize output forecast marginally

A woman roasts maize cobs on the side of the road in Lawley informal settlement in the south of Johannesburg, South Africa, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa is expected to slightly raise its 2019 maize harvest forecast, as weather conditions remain favourable and yields remain unaffected by frost damage, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

The government’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its fifth production forecast for the 2018/2019 season on Wednesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 10.95 million tonnes, up from its May estimate of 10.90 million tonnes, a poll of four traders and market analysts showed..

The 2019 harvest is expected to consist of 5.505 million tonnes of the food staple white maize and 5.445 million tonnes of yellow maize, which is used mainly in animal feed.

“I don’t think they are going to do a lot of adjustments. There is nothing that suggests there should be damage to the initial crop or an increase to the crop,” said Warren Langridge, director at Riddermark Capital.

The poll expects the 2018/2019 harvest will fall 12% from the 12.510 million tonnes harvested in the 2017/2018 season, after dry conditions delayed plantings in key maize-growing areas.

The crop is expected to be slightly higher than the country’s annual consumption of around 10 million tonnes.

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg and Naledi Mashishi, editing by Deepa Babington

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