Colombia Imports More US Corn to Feed Growing Livestock Industry

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Colombia’s corn imports from the United States will increase again this year—from 5 million tonnes in 2017/18 to 5.2 million tonnes in 2018/19—amid rising demand for animal feed, according to new forecasts from the USDA. Colombia’s domestic corn production will hold steady at 1.6 million tonnes in 2018/19, compared with the previous year, as lower prices resulted in a decrease in planted area. The US is Colombia’s top source of corn imports, helped in part by the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which eliminated tariffs on 80 percent of US-exported products when it went into effect in 2012.

Colombia’s domestic prices are largely affected by global corn markets and exchange rates, which directly influence the country’s imports. Domestic production supplies most of the demand for Colombia’s food-processing sector, but the country’s growing meat demand and animal sector require a high amount of corn for animal feed use. Because of this, Colombia’s corn consumption will also increase this year, from 6.7 million to 6.9 million tonnes. It is estimated that 95 percent of corn imports are used for animal feed. With Gro Intelligence, subscribers have the ability to monitor global corn markets and trade developments.

Colombia’s corn imports from the US have risen sharply since the countries cut tariffs on many goods in 2012, while domestic production in the South American country has held steady, as shown by the chart on the left. Sharp increases in Colombia’s consumption of corn, right chart, have been fueled by an expanding livestock sector. Some 95 percent of Colombia’s domestic consumption goes for animal feed.

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