GIEWS Country Brief: Mexico 18-November-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Cereal production for 2019 anticipated at below‑average level due to low plantings

  • Cereal imports in 2019/20 marketing year forecast at record highs

  • Prices of white maize and beans stable

Cereal production for 2019 anticipated at below‑average level due to low plantings

Aggregate cereal output in 2019 is anticipated at 34.77 million tonnes, about 5 percent below the five‑year average as a result of reduced plantings of maize, wheat and sorghum.

Harvesting of the 2019 main (summer) season maize crop, which accounts for 70 percent of the annual production, is ongoing. The output is expected at below‑average levels due to limited rainfalls in the June‑August period that lowered plantings and affected crop development. According to official estimates, the area sown during the main season was about 8 percent lower than the five‑year average and about 5 percent of the area planted, mainly in eastern and central regions and reported crop losses due to drought conditions (see the VHI map). The 2019 aggregate maize production is anticipated at a near‑average 25 million tonnes as the above average minor (winter) season output, harvested last June/July, compensated the expected downturn in the main season.

Harvesting of the 2019 minor (summer) season wheat crop is underway. The aggregate wheat production in 2019, including the main season output gathered in June, is expected at 3.28 million tonnes, about 7 percent below average. Although plantings of the minor season showed a slight increase, the area planted of the main season, that explains 95 percent of the annual production, is officially estimated at a below‑average level as a result of farmers’ shift to more remunerative crops.

Harvesting of the 2019 minor (summer) season sorghum is ongoing and yields of the harvested crops were reportedly good despite dry weather conditions thanks to the crop’s tolerance to water deficits. The 2019 aggregate sorghum production, including the main season output harvested in the second quarter of 2019, is anticipated at a below‑average level, reflecting a contraction in plantings in both seasons. The planted area of sorghum has reduced for the fifth consecutive year, as famers shifted to more remunerative crops.

Cereal imports in 2019/20 marketing year forecast at record highs

Cereal import requirements in the 2019/20 marketing year (October/September) are forecast at 24.5 million tonnes, an all‑time high and about 20 percent above the five‑year average. The increase mainly reflects the higher demand of yellow maize by the feed industry, compounded by the expected below‑average cereal production in 2019.

Prices of white maize and beans stable

Prices of white maize remained stable in the third quarter of 2019, mainly reflecting the above‑average output of the minor season harvest completed in July. Prices of black beans steadily decreased in 2019 due to bumper harvests from the previous year. By contrast, prices of rice have been increasing since the beginning of 2019 and, in October, were well above their values a year earlier, mainly due to reduced imports, which account for more than 70 percent of domestic requirements.