Farmers step up maize planting after good rain
bdlive.co.za - Jan 27th 2017, 08:37
Farmers planted almost a third more maize this season because of improved rain and other climate conditions, the state crop estimates committee said on Thursday.
Maize is SA’s staple crop and the size of the harvest is a key factor in food-price inflation. The Reserve Bank said last week it expected food-price inflation to begin to slow because of the rain.
The committee said 2.549-million hectares had been devoted to maize in Africa’s top producer of the grain, up 31% from the 1.947-million hectares that were planted last year and then hit by El Nino drought.
Rainfall has generally been good this summer though farmers say it has been patchy in western parts of the maize belt. The South African Weather Service said wetter conditions were expected until April.
The government has pegged the 2016 maize harvest at 7.5-million tonnes, 25% smaller than the previous year’s 9.95-million tonnes, but higher than initial expectations when the drought was really biting.© BusinessLIVE MMXVII
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