South Africa is set to experience higher yields than estimated earlier on in the year. This is after the National Crop Estimates Committee recalled its earlier estimate for the country’s 2017/18 commercial maize production. According to media reports, the yields have since increased by a percentage point from the last month to 12.9m tonnes.
This upward adjustment has been attributed to white maize, which went up 1m tonne to 6.7m tonnes. Concurrently, yellow maize production estimate is currently at 6.2m tonnes. However, non-commercial or smallholder maize production estimate remains constant from last month, at 593 975 tonnes. This amount is reportedly down by 18% from last season’s.
When put together, the commercial and smallholder farmers’ figures, add up to 13.5m tonnes in estimates. Inasmuch as this amount is above market expectations, it is well below last season’s 17.6m tonnes in harvest.
In general, the released information serves as a guarantee South Africa’s 2018/19 maize market will be well supplied. This is because when combined with a large opening stock earlier on this year, the expected harvest is already on its way to 16.4 million tonnes. This amount will result in surplus, since the local maize demand stands at 10.7 million tonnes.
With all factors considered, South Africa’s 2018/19 marketing year maize exports could amount to 2.3m tonnes in the least. Unfortunately, this remains a 4% from the volume exported in 2017/18. Furthermore, this means that maize prices at the South African Futures Exchange (SAFEX) could also remain at fairly lower levels. That is, approximately US $160 per tonne.