Markets react to drought in central regions

The impact of the drought in SA’s central grain-producing areas is gaining momentum and is already being reflected in a sharp increase in maize prices.

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This was according to grain marketing company Mirador Agri’s director, Albe Mouton. At noon on Monday, 18 February 2013, the white maize Safex price for delivery in June 2013 rose by R80/t to R2 046/t. The price for delivery in March 2013 increased by R61/t to R2 245/t. “These price increases can be directly linked to the ongoing reports of drought and consequent damage to maize production, particularly in North West.

“Farmers in parts of the Bloemhof district have lost the total harvest on some of their lands and conditions in the Sannieshof, Ottosdal, Schweizer-Reneke and Coligny districts, among others, are dire,” said Mouton. According to Ottosdal grain producer Hannes Otto, the maize in his district has deteriorated to such an extent farmers have lost all hope for a significant yield. “The maize is seeding now and if we don’t get sufficient rain in the next five days or so, we won’t even break even,” he said.

“We started the season with virtually no soil moisture and we’ve never received general, widespread rains. “Isolated showers of 10mm or so only means relief for a day or two. The situation is becoming critical.” Agri North West president Cor Janse van Vuuren said the National Crop Estimates Committee’s estimate of a national maize harvest of 13 million tons was highly unlikely. “I don’t know how the committee reached that figure.” 

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