June 23, 2011


India to become net corn importer by 2014-15



India will join China to become a net corn importer by 2014-15, placing increased pressure on world corn markets, the head of the US Grains Council said on Wednesday (Jun 22).


Speaking at an agriculture investment summit here, Thomas Dorr forecast that India will import as much as 300,000 tonnes of corn in 2014-15, rising to 808,000 tonnes in 2018-19. In 2009-10 India exported 995,000 tonnes of corn.


"We believe that in four short years India will turn into a consistent importer," he said.


This shift is expected to come as Chinese demand for corn rockets. Dorr said that despite a push by Beijing to improve domestic production, the Asian giant will increasingly rely on imports to meet rising consumption by its rapidly-expanding livestock industry.


"China's government is now coming to grips with the fact that food security and food self-sufficiency aren't necessarily the same thing," he said.


World corn production is expected to set a new record in the coming 2011-12 season and yet rising demand from emerging countries and ethanol blenders mean global corn ending stocks are expected to fall by three million tonnes, to near-historic lows.


This pressure is only expected to increase in the future. According to the World Bank, developing country populations with incomes of more than US$16,000 a year are expected to rise to 2.1 billion by 2030, up from 352 million in 2000, driving demand for meat.


Dorr, who is also former under secretary for rural development of the USDA, said producers and investors have a huge opportunity to benefit from such demand growth, but it will require openness to technology, trade and investment.


The use of genetically-modified crops, which is already widespread in the US corn industry but extremely restricted in other parts of the world like the European Union, will also become increasingly important in order to meet growing demand, he said.


"Non-scientific objections to GM must be weighed against the moral imperative to feed a world of 9 billion people by 2050," he said.

Video >

Follow Us