Mexico hopes to reduce corn imports 30%-40% by 2024, official says

FILE PHOTO: Corn cobs are pictured during the Corn and Milpa Fair in the Zocalo square as Mexicans celebrate National Day of Maize, in Mexico City, Mexico September 29, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico will not be able to completely replace all the corn it imports by 2024, Deputy Agriculture Minister Victor Suarez said on Wednesday, but it hopes to reduce its purchases between 30% and 40%.

Latin America’s second-largest economy is already self-sufficient in production of white corn, but is highly dependent on imports of yellow corn, which it largely purchases for use as livestock feed.

Suarez said Mexico is progressing “significantly” in its bid to substitute grain imports, which come almost entirely from the United States.

“We are not going to be able to produce another 16 million tonnes of corn, which is currently imported for the livestock sector,” Suarez said in a news conference.

Suarez said Mexico’s next government also would have to deal with the issue and that it will need to “continue the strategy of saving small growers and food self-sufficiency.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s term is set to end in October 2024.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Isabel Woodford and Paul Simao