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South Africa cuts maize production estimate for 2012

South Africa has reduced its annual estimate for maize production by 0.6 per cent as dry weather affected the output

"A recent provincial survey showed the country may reap 11.05 million tonnes of maize instead of 11.1 million tonnes forecast last month," South Africa Agriculture Department senior statistician Rona Beukes stated.

The latest forecast is in line with the Crop Estimates Committee's (CEC) estimate of 11.056 million tonnes, released in May 2012.

"Some yields are not as good as expected, so it will come down slightly to a lower figure. Dry conditions late in the season have hampered the crop in some areas of the maize belt," a local farmer told Reuters.

The estimate for white maize, the nation's staple food, was cut by 0.9 per cent to 6.4 million tonnes. The forecast for the yellow variety was relatively unaffected at 4.7 million tonnes.

The African continent's biggest maize producer harvested 10.36 million tonnes of the crop in 2011.

The stocks declined to the lowest level in 12 years in April this year as the government shipped the surplus maize to meet export commitments.

South Africa then had to import the crop from Zambia, Romania and Ukraine to make up for the deficit.