A sea­son of a-maize-ing grace for the coun­try

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Helmo Preuss

THE 2017 maize crop con­tin­ued to ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions as the sixth es­ti­mate by the Crop Es­ti­mates Com­mit­tee (CEC) raised the fore­cast to a record 15.669 mil­lion tons from only 7.779 mil­lion tons last year.

The first es­ti­mate was al­most 15 per­cent less at 13.918 mil­lion tons.

The in­crease in the maize harvest is one of the rea­sons why the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on July 24 in­creased its eco­nomic growth fore­cast for South Africa to 1 per­cent this year from the 0.8 per­cent fore­cast in April.

“The slight up­ward re­vi­sion to 2017 growth rel­a­tive to the April 2017 World Eco­nomic Out­look fore­cast re­flects a mod­est up­grad­ing of growth prospects for South Africa, which is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a bumper crop due to bet­ter rain­fall and an in­crease in min­ing out­put prompted by a mod­er­ate re­bound in com­mod­ity prices,” the IMF said.

The more than dou­bling in the 2017 maize harvest com­pared with last year will boost South Africa’s eco­nomic growth by one per­cent­age point, said Dr John Pur­chase, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Agri­cul­tural Busi­ness Cham­ber.

The re­cov­ery in the maize harvest fol­lows two years of sub-par har­vests caused by the lack of suf­fi­cient rain.

Maize needs 450mm to 600mm of wa­ter per sea­son, which is mainly ac­quired from sum­mer rains.

Photo: Supplied

A Sen­wes grain silo which will be vir­tu­ally brim­ful with maize this sea­son.

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