Far from corn self-sufficiency – El Sol de México

Corn self-sufficiency in Mexico is an issue of great importance because this grain is a staple food in the Mexican diet and an integral part of its culture; Corn is used in a wide variety of traditional Mexican dishes, such as tortillas, tamales, pozole, and many more.

In addition, it is also used as food for the livestock sector, which in turn is transformed into animal protein based on meat and other products such as milk, eggs, cheese and butter, and there is also a proportion where corn is used in agribusiness. , mainly in the production of starch.

Mexico consumes around 46 million tons of corn, of which it produces around 26.7 million tons, the vast majority of white corn, with a total of 23.7 million and the rest of yellow corn, with approximately 3 million, so that in order to cover 100% of corn consumption needs, it is necessary to import around 19 million tons (varies depending on the year).

For human consumption, around 14 million tons are required and it is estimated that for self-consumption there are 4.5 million, while for livestock, agro-industrial and other uses, 27 million tons are required.

If we start from the basis that only non-genetically modified (GMO) white corn can be used for human consumption and we produce 23.7 million tons, in this case Mexico is self-sufficient in the production of white corn, but this is not something new, nor It has been due to new policies of this administration.

The reality is that Mexico, with historical data provided by the Agricultural Market Consulting Group, since 1993 (more than 30 years ago) has been self-sufficient in the production of white corn for human consumption and not to meet the demand for the livestock and industrial use; In fact, we have a surplus in white corn production in our country and part of it is used for animal feed and industry.

If we talk about corn self-sufficiency in Mexico, we are very far from achieving it, since we are increasingly dependent on the outside world; On the one hand, demand continues to grow and national production is not at the same rate. In fact, it is estimated that in 2024 corn imports will reach close to 21 million tons, making it the second largest importer of corn worldwide, only after China.

Regarding the average yield at the national level, this is 3.9 tons per hectare in Mexico, while in the United States the average is 11.1 tons/ha.

Mexico has the capacity to increase corn production at the national level, but to do so, it is essential to define a public policy to increase production and implement support programs focused not only on increasing productivity, but also so that it can be developed sustainable way.

To produce 21 million tons (which is what is estimated to be imported this year) and taking into account current yields, it would be necessary to cultivate an additional 5.3 million hectares, which is totally unfeasible, since there is no agricultural frontier for it, nor availability of resources such as water, so the solution would be to increase the national average of production and this can only be achieved through the use of improved seeds, technological packages that consider comprehensive management of the crop; adequate fertilization; control of pests, diseases and weeds; irrigation management, and other variables, that allow the maximum productive potential of the crop to be expressed.

Without a doubt, technological innovation is the answer to achieving the long-awaited corn food self-sufficiency and here it should not matter whether they are small, medium or large producers. The competition is with producers from other countries that have much more favorable conditions and greater certainty for rural producers, which allow them to have adequate profitability and thus be able to continue guaranteeing production and sufficient supply to meet the needs of its population. That is something that we should implement in our country.

General Director of the National Agricultural Council

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