Guatemala to Grow White Corn Imports


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The Corn production cycle goes from May to March in Guatemala, with the Primera or first and most crucial harvest, representing 67 percent of the total harvest and running August-October, followed by the Postrera second harvest, which represents 27 percent of the national crop, from November to March, and the Apante, or late harvest, from January to February, representing some 6 percent of the harvest. The April-June period is critical for food security in Guatemala, and deficits are covered by imports, mainly from the United States and Mexico.

According to MAGA, Guatemalan Corn producers planted 1.1 million Ha in MY2021/2022, with expected yields of 2.2 MT/Ha and a potential 2.4 million MT. Production estimate in MY2021/2022 was 3 percent under the previous data as Guatemala experienced significantly challenging weather hazards during the second or postrera harvest season. In eastern Guatemala, in the municipalities of Olopa and San Juan La Ermita, 70 percent of the production was affected by drought, and the planted area was reduced for the postrera. During the primera harvest, heavy winds affected Corn production in Alta Verapaz, the second most important Corn production zone, responsible for 15 percent of the national harvest.

Guatemala is forecast to harvest 918,000 Ha of Corn in MY2022/2023, which is one percent lower than the updated harvested area for MY2021/2022. This reduction in harvested area corresponds to commercial Corn, as farmers have experienced a 30 percent increase in production costs of fertilizers and agrochemicals, leaving marginal returns, if any. Production area in MY 2022/2023 is forecast to reduce slightly to 1.71 million MT, as the commercial Corn areas slightly reduce. Harvested area and production in 2021/2022 were estimated at a record high of 923,000 Ha and 1.72 million MT.

Consumption in MY2022/2023 is forecast at 3.23 million MT, of which 1.6 million corresponds to feed and residual vs. 1.63 million for FSI consumption. This represents a per capita consumption for white Corn of 92 Kg, which is 11 percent lower than the 93 Kg estimated for MY2021/2022. Per capita consumption in MY2020/2021 closed at 94 Kg, indirectly evidencing the high food insecurity estimated by FEWS NET.

Feed and residual are forecast to keep constant at 1.6 million MT in MY2022/2023, without variation since MY2020/2021, as poultry production slightly decreased, but pork production is compensating for the reduction. Beef production is growing slowly, but the great majority is grass-fed. Stocks in MY2022/2023 are forecast at 43,000 MT, roughly 9 percent below the updated estimate for MY2021/2022 and almost three times lower than MY 2020/2021. Stocks will be significantly reduced as the post-pandemic global crisis, and the Russia-Ukraine war continues affecting fertilizer and oil prices.

Guatemala to Grow White Corn Imports

Guatemalan Corn Trade

Imports in MY2022/2023 are forecast at 1.5 million MT, an 8 percent increase over the updated estimate for MY2021/2022. This increase will mostly correspond to white Corn, as food insecurity increases until the first or primera harvest. MY 2020/2021 closed with yellow Corn imports representing 93 percent of total imports with 1.3 million MT, one percent lower than the previous year; on the other side, imports of white Corn (96,298 MT) increased by 11 percent. Compared to MY 2019/2020, the United States increased its market share in MY2020/2021 from 77 percent to 89 percent, both with white Corn and yellow Corn, as imports from Brazil and Mexico reduced.

According to the AgFlow data, the US led their import market with 0.5 million MT in 2021-2022, followed by Brazil (94,500 MT) and Argentina (26,000 MT). Guatemala imported 56,4447 MT of white Corn in MY2020/2021. However, the CAFTA-DR TRQ in CY2021 was 26,4000 MT, as the Ministry of Economy opened an additional 75,000 MT under WTO to supply a potential gap.  

Other sources: USDA

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