China's demand for corn may exceed domestic production by up to 20 million tonnes by 2020, leading to additional corn imports, researcher says; increased domestic corn acreage could come at expense of cotton, soybeans

LOS ANGELES , March 22, 2012 () – On March 21, Development Research Center of the State Council Deputy Director Cheng Guoqiang said at a conference in Bo’ao, China that China’s demand for corn may exceed domestic production by up to 20 million tonnes by 2020, Bloomberg reported the same day.

The increase in demand for corn will be partially driven by the rapid growth of corn usage in the production of biochemical products, Cheng added.

On March 19, Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. said that, year-over-year, China’s corn imports are likely to rise from an estimated 6.6 million tonnes to 8.9 million tonnes during the 2012-2013 marketing year.

Cheng said in his slides for the presentation that it will become normal for China’s corn supply to be insufficient. Irrespective of prices, demand for food is expected to increase, and even bumper domestic harvests will not be sufficient to fulfill demand.

Since 2008, the annual demand for corn intended for industrial use has risen year from 38 million tonnes to 45 million-50 million tonnes, Cheng noted in his presentation slides.

Cheng said Chinese farmers will increase their corn acreage at the expense of cotton and soybeans in response to an increase in domestic corn prices.

In March, Fan Zhenyu, the deputy general manager COFCO Corp.’s corn division, indicated that, using a 5.68-tonne-per-hectare base domestic yield point, Chinese corn imports could hit 20 million tonnes by 2010.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg, New York, New York, on March 21, 2012.

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