Argentina pledges to increase corn exports to help ease tight global markets
Argentina pledges to export an extra 2.75 million tons of corn from its 2011-12 harvest to a total of 16.45 million tons helping to ease tight international markets after this summer's drought in the US damaged crops there and fuelled fears of a food crisis.
The announcement was made Friday by Argentina's minister of agriculture Norberto Yauhar during a meeting with the UN's Food and Agriculture director general Jose Graziano da Silva in Rome.
Prospects of a bumper crop in the US, the world's largest corn exporter, were quashed in recent months after scorching heat reduced crop yields and pushed down production forecasts. This year will go down as the hottest summer in US history since records were stated by the country’s Met office.
US corn inventories are now expected to hit their lowest level in nearly two decades over the 2012-13 marketing year, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.
The Argentine minister said the outlook for both rainfall and plantings of corn and soybeans for the 2012-13 harvest were very positive. Argentina, the world's second biggest corn exporter, was responsible for around 15% of the world's exports in the last three years, according to FAO.
Graziano da Silva said there is no threat of a global food crisis at present, but there was a need to remain vigilant and monitor the situation closely.
Corn is the main feedstock for ethanol production in the US, where around 42% of the 2012-13 crop is expected to be converted into the bio-fuel.