Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mexico imported a record amount of grains this year

Widespread drought is forcing Mexico to import greater quantities of grains for both human and animal consumption.

According to agriculture consultancy Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas (GCMA), Mexico imported a record high of 37.44 million tonnes of grains and oil producing plants in the first 11 months of the year, an 8.8% increase compared to the same period of 2022.

A Mexican farmer shows fertilizer to the camera
Poor farming conditions and drought have led to crop failures across Mexico. (Juan Pablo Zamora/Sader/Cuartoscuro)

Drought – which affected three-quarters of national territory in late September – and a resultant decline in national agricultural output has left Mexico with no choice other than to buy more grain abroad.

GCMA data shows that:

  • Corn imports increased 16.9% between January and November to a record high of 18.2 million tonnes.
  • Oatmeal imports increased 27.6% to 248,000 tonnes.
  • Wheat imports increased 6.9% to 5.1 million tonnes.
  • Barley imports increased 13.6% to 734,000 tonnes.
  • Canola imports increased 31.8% to 1.3 million tonnes.
  • Bean imports increased 263% to 263,000 tonnes.
  • Imports of distillers grains increased 1.9% to 2.1 million tonnes.

GCMA also noted that imports of soybeans, sorghum and rice all declined.

Some industry analysts believe that food imports will be even higher in 2024. (Joaquín Sanluis/Cuartoscuro)

Juan Carlos Anaya, general director of GCMA, predicted that 2024 will be another year of record grain imports due to “the lack of water, mainly in Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Sonora.”

He said that corn imports are expected to total 19.5 million tonnes this year, and predicted that the figure will rise to a new record of almost 22 million tonnes in 2024 due to lower production in Mexico.

In October, the Agriculture Ministry (SADER) forecast that domestic production of white corn would fall 1.2% this year to 22.9 million tonnes, and that yellow corn production would decline 12.4% to 2.94 million tonnes. SADER had predicted in July that domestic production would increase.

Mexico depends heavily on yellow corn imports from the United States to feed livestock.

The two countries are currently involved in a dispute over Mexico’s plan to ban the importation of GM corn for use in dough and tortillas by 2024 and gradually phase out imports of GM maize for any kind of human consumption and for use as animal feed at an unspecified later date depending on supply.

GCMA data shows that 88.3% of the 19.5 million tonnes of corn Mexico imported in the first 11 months of the year came from the United States, while 9.6% was shipped here from Brazil. The remaining 2.1% came from South Africa, Canada and Argentina, GCMA said.

With reports from Reforma

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