South Africa Seen Raising Corn-Crop Estimate by 0.3%

South Africa, the continent’s largest corn producer, will raise its estimate for production of the grain this season by 0.3 percent, a survey showed.

Farmers may harvest 13 million metric tons of corn, according to the median prediction of five analysts in a Bloomberg survey. That compares with last month’s 12.95 million-ton forecast by the Crop Estimates Committee and is 11 percent more than the 11.7 million tons produced in the previous season. The range was 12.95 million tons to 13.15 million tons. The committee will release its data on April 24.

The crop may be the biggest since 1981, when South Africa produced 14.1 million tons, according to the committee. Meal made from the white variety is used to make a staple food known as pap, while yellow corn is mainly fed to animals.

“Yields could probably be increased slightly, as it has been a good season rainfall-wise,” Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader in Kroonstad in the Free State province, said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.

Last month, the committee raised its prediction for corn output 4.4 percent after rainfall in February and March helped yields, it said.

White corn for delivery in July was little changed at 2,100 rand ($199) a ton at midday in Johannesburg trading. The yellow type dropped 0.2 percent to 2,205.20 rand a ton.

Local farmers may plant 514,000 hectares (1.27 million acres) with wheat this season, according to a median estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That compares with the 505,500 hectares covered last year.

The nation is a net importer of wheat and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest producer of the cereal after Ethiopia. It is the region’s biggest buyer after Nigeria and Sudan, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Wheat for delivery in May declined 0.5 percent to 3,965 rand a ton.

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