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Mexico Corn Imports Seen Rising Amid Drought

Mexican corn imports will rise by about two million tonnes in the 2009-10 harvest cycle due to a drought, the head of Mexico’s national corn producers’ association said Nov. 20.

Mexico is suffering from its driest year in 68 years, killing crops and cattle in the countryside and forcing the government to slow the flow of water to the crowded capital.

Mexican corn output will likely drop in the 2009-10 harvest cycle to between 21 million and 22 million tonnes, from about 24 million tonnes in the previous cycle, Carlos Salazar, who heads the association, told Reuters.

Mexican corn imports will rise to 12 million tonnes in the 2009-10 cycle from about 10 million tonnes in 2008-09, he said.

“We are going to raise imports, approximately by an additional two million tonnes,” Salazar said in a phone interview.

Salazar said producers plan to raise output in the 2010-11 cycle to between 25 million and 26 million tonnes.

The bulk of Mexico’s corn harvest is white corn, which is mainly eaten by people, though Mexico uses excess production along with yellow corn imports from the U. S. to feed animals.

Imports will probably spike in the first few months of 2010 before a major corn crop in the state of Sinaloa is harvested, Salazar said.

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