WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Depressed prices, higher production costs, contraband and increased competition for land from other more profitable crops has contributed to a decline in corn production in Guatemala, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA also noted in its report that Guatemala has experienced drier conditions over the past few years that have had an adverse effect on corn yields, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has declared a drought for much of the corn growing area in 2018-19.

Corn production in 2018-19 is forecast at 1.683 million tonnes, down from 1.796 million tonnes in 2017-18 and compared with 1.804 million tonnes in 2016-17. Area harvested also is projected lower, at 872,000 hectares in 2018-19, which compared with 876,000 hectares in 2017-18 and 880,000 hectares in 2016-17.

Corn occupies approximately 40% of total agricultural land use in Guatemala, according to the USDA, and is produced under commercial and non-commercial systems. Non-commercial areas account for about 58% of total planted area for corn, while commercial areas account for about 42%, the USDA noted.

Consumption of corn in Guatemala is forecast at 2.995 million tonnes in 2018-19, up from 2.98 million tonnes in 2017-18 and compared with 2.967 million tonnes in 2016-17, the USDA said.