China has abundant corn in storage, no need to import from US

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/21 21:30:04

China has enough corn in storage even if it loses some of the harvest due to a moth infestation, and the country will not import more corn from the US as Washington has demanded, industry insiders said.

The crop-destroying fall armyworm invaded China's farmland in January. At present, the moth has invaded 13 provinces in southern China, with an area of 1.08 million mu (216,000 hectares), Jiemian news reported. China's corn planting area in 2018 was 632 million mu, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). 

Analysts said that corn will not be a way for the US to export more agricultural products to China.

"I have asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions and I did not increase their second tranche of tariffs to 25% on March 1. This is very important for our great farmers - and me!" US President Donald Trump tweeted on March 1.

There is currently a 25 percent tariff on US agricultural products entering China after Trump raised tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. A drop in US agricultural exports to China would hit US farmers, who are Trump supporters, in the presidential campaign next year. 

"The affected area is small compared with China's total corn planting area. The infestation will not result in a large reduction of corn output and I am confident about government remedy measures," Ma Wenfeng, an agriculture analyst told the Global Times on Tuesday. "China has enough corn planting area and storage to withstand potential losses, there's no need to import from any other country, including the US."

"Northeast China has the largest corn planting area. May is the sowing period for corn in the region, and the impact of pests is very small," Li Guoxiang, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China's corn production in 2018 was 257.3 million tons, according to the NBS. Although the Chinese government has encouraged farmers to grow other grains and soybeans, corn remains China's largest crop, followed by rice with production of 200 million tons and wheat with 130 million tons in 2018.

Li said the pest's impact on related industries, animal feed and biological ethanol fuel is also very limited. 

"In China, corn is primarily used as feed for livestock, and it is further processed into fuel ethanol in cases of excess production," said Li. "China has huge inventories of corn, which is converted into biological ethanol fuel."

Due to the outbreak of African swine fever, the number of hogs has fallen so that animal feed demand has decreased, resulting in reduced demand for corn, according to a monthly report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in January.

China set an annual consumption cap for ethanol fuel converted from corn at 10 million tons, according to an implementation plan jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and other 15 ministries and commissions in 2017. 

"The huge corn stockpile will be enough to support consumption," Li added. 

Posted in: ECONOMY

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