It will be a year of plenty for SA with expectations for a maize harvest 87% bigger than the 2016 crop. The bounty comes after crippling drought in 2016 resulted in the smallest summer harvest since 2007. In its third production estimate report for the year, the crop estimates committee said on Tuesday farmers were likely to harvest 14.53-million tonnes of maize in 2017, making it the second-biggest crop on record. The revised output is 1.48% up from the previous estimate. "I am surprised, but this is excellent news," said Wandile Sihlobo, head of economic and agribusiness research at Agbiz. He said he had expected a downward revision of about 1%, based on late planting in some regions and inconsistent rain patterns in others. "Overall, it is good. SA can now regain its status as a net exporter of maize from May 1. When we are importers we are at the mercy of currency volatility. Consumers have reason to celebrate. For the next 18 months or so, food inflation could come down," he sa...

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