LESOTHO - The 2014 cereal crop, which was harvested in May-June, is estimated at a comparable level to the previous year’s near-average output.
At 86 000 tonnes, maize accounts for almost all of the cereal harvest (83 percent), while the winter wheat crop, to be harvested in November, largely constitutes the remaining output.
Despite a significant 26 percent increase in the area planted to 2013/14 maize this year, heavy rain and frost damage contributed to a reduction in yields and resulted in a stunted output.
Similarly, a 29 percent decrease in sorghum production was recorded.
Preliminary estimates for the wheat crop indicate an unchanged output compared to last year, with an increase in plantings forecast to compensate for an expected reduction in yields.
Import requirements estimated to remain stable in 2014/15
Maize imports, mainly from South Africa, for the 2013/14 marketing year (April/March) were estimated at about 60 000 tonnes, about 60 percent below the previous year’s level, on account of the larger 2013 cereal harvest.
For the current 2014/15 marketing year, import volumes are expected to remain relatively unchanged.
However, the importation rate has increased this year, with approximately 45 000 tonnes of maize imported between April and July 2014, compared to about 20 000 tonnes during the same period last year.
The sharp decrease in South African maize prices may have contributed to the faster import rate.
TheCropSite News Desk