China’s Corn Acreage to Decline by More Than One Million Hectares This Year
China is expecting its corn acreage to decline for the first time in 13 years this season, dropping 1.33 million hectares or 3.29 million acres, according to Reuters.
The decline in corn cultivation comes as the country’s most radical agricultural reforms in the last decade gain traction. In March of this year Beijing announced it was ending its corn stockpiling program under which the government bought large volumes of corn at fixed prices as a means of supporting its farmers. The policy however, has led to inventories topping 250 million tons, artificially high domestic prices, and corn acreage climbing from 23 million hectares in 2001 to 37 million hectares in 2015.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture predicts that the country’s 2016 corn harvest will fall by 4.2% to 215.17 million tons, and fall further, to 205.67 million tons by 2020, while consumption is predicted to top 221.92 million tons. The Chinese government expects that industry will depend upon its stockpiles to fill the gap, however others in the industry are concerned that the supply gap will push China to increasingly depend on imports, much like soybeans.