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Ecuador Promotes Increased Production to Save FOREX

25 March 2014
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

ECUADOR - FAS Quito forecasts Ecuador’s wheat production in marketing year (MY) 2014/15 (July/June) to reach only 9,000 metric tons (MT), largely unchanged from our earlier MY 2013/14 estimate.

Ecuador currently is an insignificant producer of wheat, almost totally dependent on foreign wheat imports. FAS Quito forecasts Ecuador’s wheat imports in MY 2014/15 at 590,000 MT, dropping some 10,000 MT or about two per cent from our earlier MY 2013/14 estimate of 600,000 MT. USDA attributes the drop to Ecuador imposing new import and utilization requirements on flour millers.

FAS Quito forecasts Ecuador’s corn production in MY 2014/15 (May/April) largely unchanged at 1.25 million metric tons (MMT) from our MY 2013/14 estimate. The MY 2013/14 estimate of 1.25 MMT however represents a new record high.

USDA attributes the upward trend in production to the government requiring food and feed manufacturers to buy up local production; import permits are reportedly only being issued after local purchases have been made and documented.

FAS Quito forecasts Ecuador’s corn imports in MY 2014/15 at 175,000 MT, up some 32,000 MT or about 22 per cent compared to our MY 2013/14 estimate of 143,000 MT. We foresee Ecuador sourcing more affordable corn whenever it can from regional providers in order to limit outflows of foreign exchange.

FAS Quito forecasts Ecuador’s milled rice production in MY 2014/15 (April/March) at 787,000 MT, up some 20,000 MT or an increase of around 2.6 per cent compared to USDA's MY 2013/14 estimate of 767,000 MT. USDA attributes increased production to the availability of new, improved rice varieties.

The planting season started on time this calendar year. We anticipate the first harvest in late April, and barring unexpected bad weather a good harvest. With rice production increasing, Ecuador is moving away from imports.

At FAS Quito USDA forecasts little to no rice imports by Ecuador in MY 2014/15. However, a niche export market opportunity for specialty rice varieties such as basmati, sushi-style rice (i.e., white, short-grain rice), risotto, wild rice, and parboiled rice is seen.

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: Ecuador Grain and Feed Annual 2014 report by clicking here.

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