Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Weather forecasts have changed overnight and currently show a possibility of dry and cool weather conditions over the South African maize-belt during the next two weeks. This bodes well for the crop ahead of the harvest process in dryland areas. There could, however, be light showers in parts of Mpumalanga and Free State provinces during the next eight days, but that might have minimal impact on the crop as the week thereafter promises cool conditions.

The maize harvest process, currently underway in the irrigation areas of the country, could gain momentum during the next two weeks. Overall, South Africa is in for a relatively good maize harvest in the 2017/2018 production season, estimated at 12.8 million tons. While lower than the previous season’s harvest, this is well above the long-term average production of 12.0 million tons.

In terms of trade, South Africa started the 2018/2019 marketing year on a good footing with exports amounting to 65 753 tons, which equates to 3% of seasonal forecast. About 96% was white maize, with the rest being yellow maize. The leading buyer was Spain, accounting for an 81% share of weekly maize exports.

This is the second consignment of maize leaving for Spain this year. It is unclear whether this will be utilised in animal feed or human consumption. The typical suppliers of maize to Spain are Brazil, the United States, Ukraine, France, Romania, Canada and Bulgaria, amongst others. Almost all these countries largely produce yellow maize. Therefore, it is possible that Spain will utilise the imported volume in animal feed market.

Over the past five years, Spain imported, on overage, about 6.4 million tons of maize a year. Hence, this could be a good long-term market for local farmers as South Africa is typically a net exporter of maize. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz

Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness intelligence at Agbiz, shares highlights in his update on agricultural commodity markets. Click here for the full report on agri markets for the major commodities.

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