WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Ecuador’s wheat production in marketing year 2016-17 (July-June) is forecast to reach 4,000 tonnes, down about 1,000 tonnes from market year 2015-16 estimates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in an April 8 report. Ecuador is an insignificant producer of wheat, dependent almost entirely on foreign imports. The report forecast Ecuador’s wheat imports in market year 2016-17 at 800,000 tonnes, down 60,000 tonnes or 7% compared to the market year 2015-14 estimate of 860,000 tonnes. The decrease is attributed to Ecuador’s economic slowdown. Consumption by the local animal feed industry is expected to remain flat.

Ecuador’s corn production in market year 2016-17 (May-April) is forecast at 1.16 million tonnes, down from the market year 2015-16 estimates of 1.4 million tonnes. The USDA attributes the downward trend in production to the economic uncertainties surrounding the market, which is discouraging farmers from planting. Production is also down due to farmers switching to alternative crops. The report forecasts Ecuador’s corn imports in market year 2016-17 at 100,000 tonnes, up some 25,000 tonnes compared to the market year 2015-16 estimate of 75,000 tonnes.

Ecuador’s milled rice production in market year 2016-17 (April-March) is forecast at 660,000 tonnes, down 90,000 tonnes or 12% compared to the market year 2015-16 estimate of 750,000 tonnes. The USDA attributes the decrease in production to the uncertainty surrounding market prices and to the hesitation of farmers to plant. This year’s first major harvest is expected in late May.