GIEWS Country Brief: Mexico 20-July-2021

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  • Favourable production prospects for 2021 main season maize crop

  • Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 marketing year forecast near the average

  • Prices of white maize on steady rise in 2021

  • Concerns over impact of COVID‑19 pandemic on food security

Favourable production prospects for 2021 main season maize crop

Planting operations of the 2021 main season maize crop are ongoing under favourable weather conditions. According to satellite imageries, vegetation conditions of establishing crops are above the average in the key producing states of México, Puebla and Veracruz. Rainfall amounts are forecast at average levels in the August‑October period, likely favouring crops at flowering and grain‑filling stages. The planted area is anticipated at near‑average level as elevated production costs constrained farmers’ early intentions to expand sowings as a response to the high prices of the grain. The 2021 aggregate maize production, including a slightly below‑average minor season output harvested in the April‑June period, is forecast at average 27 million tonnes.

Harvesting of the 2021 main season sorghum crop is still ongoing as it started with a one‑month delay following poor early season rains in the key producing Tamaulipas state, that caused crop losses and required replanting. The main season output is anticipated at below‑average level, reflecting the reduced harvested area. Planting of the minor season sorghum crop is underway amid overall adequate soil moisture levels.

Harvesting of the 2021 main season wheat crop is nearing completion. Production is estimated below the previous five‑year average due to a low level of plantings, as farmers preferred to plant more profitable maize crop.

Cereal import requirements in 2020/21 marketing year anticipated near the average

Cereal import requirements in the 2020/21 marketing year (October/September) are anticipated at near‑average 22.1 million tonnes. Following steady increases between 2012 and 2019, import needs are expected to decline in 2020 due to ample carryover stocks of yellow maize and sorghum as well as the sluggish demand for sorghum by the feed industry.

Prices of white maize on steady rise in 2021

Prices of white maize increased steadily between March and June 2021 in line with trends in the international market. The increase was exacerbated by reduced domestic supplies from the 2021 below‑average minor season harvest. In June 2021, maize prices were well above their year‑earlier levels, exerting a strong upward pressure on retail prices of tortillas.

Since October 2020, prices of rice decreased in most markets due to a weakening of the retail demand. Prices of black beans declined seasonally in the March‑May period, following the commercialization of the 2021 minor season output.

Concerns over impact of COVID‑19 pandemic on food security

According to FAO’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2021 , the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the total population increased from 25.6 percent in 2014‑2016 to 26.1 percent in 2018‑2020. The worsening of food security took place amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic in 2020, when the GDP decreased by 9 percent . Official estimates indicate that the poverty rate in the first quarter of 2021, calculated by the share of working age population whose income is not sufficient to purchase essential food items, rose by about 4 percentage points year on year, due to income and job losses, and reached nearly 40 percent .