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The numbers released on February 27 by SA’s crop estimates committee underscores the message of optimism about agricultural conditions carried in my column on February 20. The data shows that SA farmers planted 3.7-million hectares of summer grains and oilseeds. This is up 3% from the preliminary estimates released in January, but still 3% lower than the 2017/2018 production season. This encompasses white maize, yellow maize, sunflower seed, soya beans, ground nuts, sorghum, and dry beans. About 61% of it is maize (white and yellow). Not only did area plantings improve, but the production estimates also paint a promising picture, with an overall harvest forecast of 10.5-million tons, which is well above the Reuters analysts’ consensus forecast of 9.9-million tons. Aside from the area expansion, it seems recent rainfall in parts of the country has also increased optimism that most areas could receive better yields than initially expected. People who have been following the SA agricul...

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