Jan 27, 2013

Mexico corn imports increased 400% in a decade - La Jornada

La Jornada Americas Program Original Translation
Mexico City
January 26, 2013

The country is increasingly dependent on food supplies from abroad, according to official figures

In just a decade, Mexico’s corn imports, grain that is at the base of the food pyramid in the country, increased fourfold, reaching in the last year a figure of $ 2.878 million dollars, about 37.400 million pesos, revealed the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).

The country is increasingly dependent on food supply from outside. The imports of agricultural products, from cattle to dairy to fruits and grain seeds, rose to $ 12.330 million dollars last year, an amount that was more than twice the value of purchases made abroad 10 years ago, according to the organization.

This Friday, INEGI reported that in 2012, the balance of foreign trade in Mexico - the difference between total exports and imports of the country - showed a surplus of $ 163 million. In 2011, the balance was a deficit of $ 468 million thousand.

While the total foreign trade balance is maintained with a slight surplus, food imports have continued to grow, in a country where one in five of the population lives in the countryside.

The acquisition abroad of agricultural products reached $ 12.330 million dollars last year, although Inegi only recently updated data for imports in this sector last November. The acquisition of agricultural food abroad accounts for about one third of total imports of non-oil commodities - this latter amounting to $ 35.603 million dollars in 2012.

The foreign purchases of corn, a food whose origin is precisely the Mesoamerican region, have quadrupled in the last decade.

In the past year, Mexico paid a bill abroad of $ 2.878 million dollars to import corn. The value of these imports quadrupled the amount recorded 10 years ago, which was $ 644.3 million, according to data from INEGI.

Something similar is happening with beans. Imports of this legume, also widely consumed in various regions of the country, totaled $ 266 million dollars between January and November 2012, that number quadrupled those recorded in 2002, which totaled $ 65.3 million.

Between January and November 2012, the agricultural trade balance (the difference between exports and imports of these goods) was in deficit in 2000 a total of $ 345 million, according to INEGI.

According to these data, the deficit in the balance of trade in agricultural products is now more than double that of a decade ago. In 2002, INEGI data shows that the foreign trade of agricultural products in Mexico was a deficit of $ 18 million thousand.

Click here for original Spanish article. 

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