South Africans don’t need to worry about food price inflation just yet because there will be sufficient maize supplies in the country until April 2020, despite declining production yields in the North West province which produces about 15% of South Africa’s maize.
According to Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), the expected yields for the 2018-19 maize production season could average 3.4 tons per hectare.
According to the Protein Research Foundation’s fifth production forecast for 2019 summer crops, this season’s yields will be 13% smaller than the 2018 crop.
“In the 2017-18 production season, North West average maize yields were at 4.4 tons per hectare, and the five-year average yield, up to 2017-18, is 3.7 tons per hectare swayed down by the yield levels of the drought years 2015- 2016,” said Sihlobo.
He said farmers that he had spoken to around Lichtenburg in the North West said they were receiving about 2.2 tons per hectare.
“I am yet to chat with farmers in other regions. If this would be the case across the province, then the overall maize expectations of 10.9 million tons would have to be lowered somewhat,” said Sihlobo.
He said this decrease would largely affect white maize, which is predominantly produced in the North West province.
Sihlobo said about 4.1 million tons of maize had already been delivered to commercial silos in the week of June 28.