Corn sowing plummets 50% in 2023 – El Sol de México

The corn production in Mexico decreased between 40 and 50 percent during 2023, leaders of the sagricultural sector, who warned about a greater dependence on grain imports, since the drought, the lack of support for the countryside and fair guaranteed prices, in addition to the cost of inputs, They force producers to stop planting or change their crops to more attractive products, like the berries or the avocado.

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The situation in the countryside contrasts with the president’s promises Andrés Manuel López Obradorwho since his 2018 campaign and Already in the Government he promised that Mexico would stop importing food and would achieve food self-sufficiency.

The best thing is to produce in Mexico what we consume, food and energy, that is the lesson. So we have to go to the food self-sufficiency so as not to depend on foreigners for our raw materials,” said López Obrador on May 14, 2022 during the start of the production campaign for self-consumption in Puebla.

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The situation is critical. Imports will reach 40 billion dollars… Almost everything we import. “56 percent of what is on the table is imported,” said the president of the Mexican Union of Agrochemical Manufacturers and Formulators (UNFFAAC)Luis Eduardo González Cepeda, who accused that the collapse in corn production was 50 percent and, therefore, corn imports will rise from 20 million tons last year to 24 million tons by 2024.

The secretary general of the National Union of Agricultural Workers (UNTA)Álvaro López Ríos, pointed out that the drop in corn production was 40 percentboth in seasonal sowing – which depends on the rains – and in irrigation.

We are on the path to displacing China as the largest corn importing country”said González Cepeda, who estimated the value of corn imports at close to $40 billion.

Besides the droughtthat During 2023 it affected 70 percent of the national territoryother factors influenced the decrease in corn planting and other basic food products, such as beans, wheat and sorghum, such as the increase in prices of fuel, fertilizers and low or no guarantee prices.

Guarantee prices for corn go down, but not the prices of fuel, transportation, or inputs and fertilizers, agrochemicals do not decrease. The farmer has nowhere to get more funds to get ahead,” said González Cepeda.

He explained that For corn planting to be a profitable business, a farmer must obtain 11 tons of grain per hectareOtherwise, your profit is minimal or it will not be enough to pay your production costs.

“In Sinaloaso that things go well for the farmer, You have to get 11 tons of corn per hectare. If you get 10 tons, not doing so well. But If there are eight tons per hectare, it no longer calculates the investment cost per hectare. The ton is paid for 4,500 pesos and if it achieved eight tons per hectare it is 36 thousand pesos, but its production cost was 32 thousand pesos. So, it’s working a whole year for four thousand pesos. It’s not business,” he said.

In addition to these costs, he said, Freight and transportation charges are added to take the corn to the commercial areas of the countrythus the importance of guarantee prices that insure the producer against possible losses“but when the guarantee prices were removed by the current government, farmers stopped planting corn because there is no security.”

In this situation, The leader of the UNTA, Álvaro López Ríos, accused that there is a silent process reconversion from sowing grains to production berriesstrawberries, blackberries, raspberriesetc.—and the avocadothat Being export products they give good returns.

“But citizens do not eat berry tortillas; avocados are business, but You can’t eat avocados without tortillas“, warned the president of the UNFFAAC.

Others Products whose production plummeted were beans, of which nearly 300 thousand tons were no longer produced. only in Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Bajío and, as a result, the value of imports tripled between January and October of this year, reaching 255 million dollars. In the same period of 2022, the value of bean purchases abroad was 83 million dollars, according to data from the Bank of Mexico.

Furthermore, in Sonora, entity that produces the most wheatHE Production fell significantly due to drought and, in Tamaulipas, sorghum production was also seriously affected.

Not only the grains, Agave prices also plummeted. It was sold for 24 pesos per kilogram and currently it is paid for four pesos per kilo, so Its production is also in danger.

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Corn, drought and bad prices, production falls; bean, drought and there was no price, production fell; the agave, The price falls and production stops. People say I don’t plant agave because it’s not business,” concluded Luis Eduardo González Cepeda.

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