Rice production estimate for 2015-16 projected down 7% from earlier forecasts.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The total rice production estimate for Mexico for the 2015-16 marketing year has been revised to 217,000 tonnes, down about 7% from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) estimate, according to a September GAIN report issued by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the USDA. 

In addition to the downward revision, the FAS said that on July 23 Luis Bueno Torio, president of Mexico’s National Rice Product System, indicated that the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Foodstuffs (SAGARPA) granted support payments of 3,000 pesos per hectare for irrigated plots and 1,500 pesos per hectare for non-irrigated land, for a period of three years. The initiative comes after more than a year of requesting government support.

Bueno Torio said the amount represents approximately 20% of cultivation cost and will benefit about 3,000 rice growers in seven states in Mexico that should produce new rice varieties during the current and following two planting crop seasons, according to the FAS.

The main objective of the new support program, according to the Mexican Rice Council, is to boost domestic rice production and its productivity, in order to increase its market share in the Mexican market and provide an alternative crop to improve farmers’ income. The FAS noted in the GAIN report that the goal is to establish 51,900 hectares under the program over a period of three years.

Bueno Torio also said the government support may be used by more than 50% of rice growers, who have the option to plant new varieties of long grain rice seeds, two of which have been developed by the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP).

The FAS report noted that the goal of the support program is to increase domestic production by nearly 200,000 tonnes in the 2018 crop cycle, to reach up to 380,000 tonnes. Bueno Torio also noted that with the support, Mexico is expected to import as much as 60% of its rice, which he said may help avoid unfair competition in the domestic rice market, according to the report.

In addition to rice, the FAS said production estimates for corn, sorghum and wheat production in Mexico have been revised downward from earlier USDA forecasts, reflecting smaller-than-previously-estimated planted area and irregular weather conditions.

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