Consumers in South Africa can expect a slight decline in food prices from the third quarter of this year - a consequence of the bumper maize harvest of 15.63million tons that the country expects to reap. Maize prices this week were trading at about R1695 a ton - down by about 65% from peaks last year of more than R5000 a ton. Figures from the Crop Estimates Committee released on Wednesday kept the maize production forecast unchanged. But the soybean production estimate increased 9% from the previous month to 1.34million tons, making this season's crop the largest on record. Wandile Sihlobo, head of the economic and agribusiness intelligence unit at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said these figures favoured consumers rather than farmers. "Consumers will see a decline in food prices, but not immediately. Maize prices have come down by about 65% from last year's prices, while food prices have only marginally declined. This is because of a lag time of about four to nine months betwe...

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