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Mexico Harvest Seen Recovering in 2012

03 November 2011

MEXICO - Mexico will produce less corn than expected this year after the crop was battered first by hard frosts in parts of the country and then by drought, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday.

Mariano Ruiz, Mexico’s deputy Agriculture Minister, said the harvest would fall to 20 million tonnes this year, less than the 23 million tonnes originally forecast. Next year the crop should recover, he said, reports The Gulf Today.

“This year has been a complicated year compared to 2010, which was a very good year,” said Mr Ruiz in an interview.

Frosts in northern Sinaloa state, which produces most of Mexico’s Autumn-Winter corn, as well as a lack of rain in the middle of the year and a second frost in September in the central states, all combined to hurt this year’s harvest.

Mexico grows mostly white corn to make the country’s staple tortillas but has to import yellow corn for animal feed. Ruiz said imports in 2011 would reach between 8 million and 9 million tonnes.

In spite of the lower production this year, Ruiz said he does not expect a big jump in yellow corn imports due to a pickup in production of other feed grains.

“We don’t expect imports to be above last year’s,” he said. “We don’t see any problem in the supply of corn,” he said, referring to white corn.

Mr Ruiz said he expects the corn harvest to recover in 2012 to 25 million tonnes. “For the coming year we’re expecting a return to normal levels of production,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s cocoa bean exports from the main growing island of Sulawesi slumped 80 per cent in October from a year ago, declining for an eighth consecutive month, industry data showed on Wednesday.

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest cocoa producer after the Ivory Coast and Ghana, has suffered a bad harvest this year as wet weather damaged the main crop and triggered an outbreak of a deadly fungal disease.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy exported 6,877.80 tonnes of cocoa in October, versus 33,897.86 tonnes in the same month last year, the industry data showed.

Sulawesi’s October cocoa exports were also 7 per cent lower than September’s exports of 7,388.28 tonnes. Exports have been falling since March, when the Vascular-streak Dieback (VSD) disease spread across plantations.

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