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Mexico’s Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader) Secretary Víctor Villalobos said  Friday, March 18, that if the country’s production of yellow corn increases by at least 8 million tons, Mexico will be able to declare itself self-sufficient and stop importing by the end of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) six-year term in 2024.

“We have the firm conviction that we can produce between 8 and 10 million additional tons (of yellow corn) for different uses and thus significantly mitigate, and I would say definitively, imports at the end of this administration,” Villalobos said during the National Corn Forum 2022.

Currently, Mexico is self-sufficient in white corn, which is used especially for human consumption. However, it buys about 20 million tons of yellow corn from the United States each year for industrial use and to feed livestock.

That figure represents about 30 percent of all yellow corn consumed in Mexico.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered already-high international corn prices to soar in the last month, making imported corn even more expensive.

But international agriculture analysts view Villalobos’ goal with skepticism.

The Agricultural Markets Consulting Group (GCMA) described the goal of Mexican self-sufficiency as “a good intention that hopefully will be achieved” but that faces difficulties.

“With the current programs, we do not see this happening since there are no programs that encourage production that is more productive,” said Juan Carlos Anaya, general director of the GCMA.

“Moreover, more budget would be required, which the secretariat does not have.”

But Villalobos called on producers and marketers to “close ranks” and keep possible shortage problems at bay as yellow corn prices continue to soar.

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