JOHANNESBURG – Less rainfall and warmer temperatures are to blame for a significant decrease this year in the area planted to maize, a staple food for millions of poor South Africans.
In its preliminary area planted estimate for 2018/2019 summer field crops released yesterday, the Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), said white maize was planted on 1.257 million hectares in 2019, down 0.88 percent from the 1.268 million hectares planted in 2018.
Yellow maize on the other hand was down 3.70 percent to 1.01 million hectares from the 1.05 million hectares planted in the previous season.
The total estimated area planted to maize this year was 2.269 million hectares, which is 2.15 percent less than the 2.319 million hectares planted last season. According to the figure released in October, the intention was to plant 2.4 million hectares this year.
“Less than favourable rainfall and warm temperatures in the western producing areas over the past few weeks prevented producers from planting their intended area with summer crops, especially in the Free State and North West provinces,” the CEC stated.