The was probably minimal activity in the farms across South Africa this week. The South African farmers were at Nampo Park in Bothaville, a small agricultural town in the Free State.

Nampo is an agricultural trade show where stakeholders from technology developers to start-ups, agricultural financiers, biotechnology companies, insurance companies, agricultural retailers and others gather to showcase new industry developments and informally interact with clients and potential partners.

Farmers in this gathering meet all their suppliers and partners in one setting. The crowd is sizeable; it is arguably the largest agriculture gathering on the African continent.

The NAMPO engagements also mean that summer crop harvesting probably slowed this week. The harvest is still at the elementary stages for significant crops such as maize, while soybeans have advanced.

If we consider maize in this post, the South African farmers have started harvesting in areas that planted maize early in the season. Last week, on 12 May, about 236 634 tonnes were delivered to commercial silos.

But it will be a month before the harvest gains momentum across the country. Several regions planted a month behind the typical planting window because of excessive rains at the start of the season.

If we combine the first two weeks of the 2023/24 marketing year, 456 935 tonnes of maize were delivered to commercial silos out of the expected harvest of 15,9 million tonnes (up 3% y/y). This is the third-largest maize harvest on record.

The maize crop improvement this season is primarily on the back of expected large yields, as the area planted is slightly down from last season.

Of the expected 15,9 million tonnes, about 8,4 million tonnes is white maize, with 7,5 million tonnes being yellow maize.

Notably, a crop of 15,9 million tonnes implies South Africa will have sufficient supplies to meet domestic needs of roughly 11,4 million tonnes and remain with about 3,0 million tonnes for export markets in the 2023/24 marketing year.

Over the coming weeks, we will pay attention to the quality of the crop. Still, we do not think the recent rains have caused crop quality damage.

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