El Salvador Implements a 2-Phases Corn Program
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Currently, the demand for white Corn in El Salvador is around 22 million quintals annually. Local production is 17.5 million quintals per year, which causes a dependence of more than 4 million on imports to satisfy national demand.
For this reason, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), on the instructions of President Nayib Bukele, designed a comprehensive plan that seeks to increase white Corn production by 30% in the first phase to double this crop in the medium term and turn it into an export product, the official said.
For this, the MAG launched a strategic alliance with the company Alto Rendimiento en la Agricultura (ATIDER) of the Mexican Ernesto Cruz, who was awarded the world record in Corn production by reaching 44 tons per hectare, earning various awards for agricultural research, such as China’s National Technological Research Award, a great distinction that no other foreign researcher had achieved. «Three months ago, they contacted us, and we are happy to transfer all this technology to you; I am amazed by the goodness of your land,” said the Mexican agronomist.
In October 2022, the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Óscar Guardado, launched the High Yield Corn Cultivation Project, which seeks to train more than 200 technicians to gradually increase production of white Corn in the country. It is expected that, with this unprecedented project, El Salvador can be self-sufficient, generate a strategic reserve of Corn, and venture into exports, all with innovation and agricultural technologies that have been put to the test, guaranteeing favorable results for production.
“Starting with these trainings will guarantee us to have the supply for our town. We are going to break the schemes of agricultural production in this country. We hope to generate enough to have a strategic reserve and export,” said the Vice Minister.
Vice Minister Guardado assured that the program would be carried out in two phases: the first is about training, the transmission of knowledge, and provision of first-world technological equipment to lay the foundations for high-yield agriculture.
“Trained technicians who will become experts in soil treatment, fertilizer, and seed management, all to increase Corn production,” said the official. More than 90% of the technicians who will carry out this first phase are alumnis of the National School of Agriculture (ENA). Phase two is the implementation of the productive improvement at the national level, which means doubling the production of Corn, representing a direct benefit for the producers.
El Salvador – the US Cooperation on Corn Trade
El Salvador is an important market for the US yellow Corn, used almost exclusively by the poultry and animal feed industries. The snack processing industry is also a significant importer of hard endosperm Corn. Imports of yellow Corn from the United States account for 90% of local demand, estimated at 480,000 tons for the 2021-22 crop year.
Snack food production is at the top of the list in the food processing sector. Yellow Corn is a main ingredient in the snack manufacturing process. Corn chips, salted peanuts, cheese puffs, and party mixes are some of the most popular items in the local snack sector. The DIANA and Bocadeli snack brands produced in El Salvador capture roughly 75% of the snack market. In addition, DIANA is the largest snack producer in Central America and is already exporting products such as Corn chips and nacho tortillas to ethnic markets in the United States.
According to AgFlow data, El Salvador imported 1.2 million tons of Corn from the US in 2022, followed by Brazil (0.3 million tons). The country’s Corn production was 1 million tons in MY 2021/2022, while its domestic consumption totaled 1.6 million tons.
Other sources: MAG.GOB
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