MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Mexico’s grain production is expected to grow modestly in 2019-20, driven in part by new government programs incentivizing small farmers to produce basic grains, according to a March 13 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The administration of new president Andres Manual Lopez Obrador is implementing numerous changes to Mexico’s agricultural support system. USDA noted that the new administration is focusing on providing supports to poorer, small farmers, compared to larger commercial operations.

“The new focus has generated frustration with medium-sized and large farmers, who have held protests in Sinaloa and Sonora against the lack of support for commercial agriculture,” USDA said.

“As these programs are still in their initial phases, it is not clear how they will operate and how strong of an impact they may have on production.”

USDA projects a slight increase in wheat production in 2019-20, from 3 million tonnes to 3.1 million, and a significant rise in corn output, from 16.7 million tonnes to 17.8 million.

Compound feed production is also projected to increase, from 33.5 million tonnes to 34.6 million, USDA said.

Overall feed grain demand is expected to continue to grow steadily at approximately 3% in 2019-20, according to USDA.

“Corn continues to be the preferred feed grain in Mexico, given low international prices and nutritional characteristics,” USDA said. “Meanwhile, demand for grain for human consumption is forecast to grow more slowly, around the level of population growth.”