South African farmers are expected to plant maize over an area 3% smaller than last year, the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said on Thursday.

The CEC forecast a 6.3% drop in the area planted for white maize, and a 1.9% increase in the area planted for yellow maize. Overall farmers were expected to plant 2.544 million hectares of maize, down from 2.623 million hectares the previous year.

(Reporting by Nelson Banya; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo)