South African maize planting area seen down 18% from last season

South African maize farmers are expected to plant 18% less of the staple crop this season due to dry and hot weather along the western part of the maize belt, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to forecast the planted area at 2.159-million hectares, down from 2.629-million hectares planted last season when favourable weather conditions boosted yields, according to an average estimate of seven traders and analysts polled by Reuters.