ArmywormLarva DianaLynne/ThinkstockPhotos

Global Hot Spots: Africa, China and Japan

Army worm pest, soybean production and dwindling corn stocks.

Feb. 16, 2017

African countries make plans to fight army worm pest

Army worms are attacking crops in southern Africa and 16 countries in that region agreed at a United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) emergency meeting this month to develop plans to fight that pest as well as address other issues.

“Fall armyworm, which is mostly associated with the Americas, is a new threat in Southern Africa and we are very concerned with the emergence, intensity and spread of the pest,” said David Phiri, FAO coordinator for southern Africa.

Regarding the army worm, Zambia has reported that almost 222,300 acres of maize have been affected, forcing farmers to replant their crops. In Malawi some 42,000 acres have so far been affected while in Namibia, approximately 123,500 hectares of maize and millet has been damaged.

The pests threaten the region’s food security at a time when it is recovering from drought.

 

China’s new policy aims to increase soybean production - attache

In China’s new agricultural modernization guidelines the government concedes that Chinese agriculture has struggled to become globally competitive due to limited arable land resources, outdated technology, and rapidly rising production costs, according to USDA’s attache office.

“Under the new agricultural modernization plan for grain production, the government proposes a strategic production adjustment to reduce corn production and increase soybean production from 2016 to 2020,” the report said.

The targets include 550 million tons of grain production with annual growth of 9%. For this major grain production adjustment about 11.5 million acres of corn area, or 12.4%, will be used for other crops. Soybean area is expected to reach 23.2 million acres, a 44% percent increase.

 

Japan corn stocks dwindle following shipping delays from U.S. - Reuters

Japan's feed makers are expected to tap the country's emergency stockpiles of corn as inventories decline to critically low levels following a delay in shipments from the United States, according to a Reuters report.

Japan's ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries plans to approve the measure after heavy storms off the west coast of the United States caused lengthy delays to grain loadings in Japan's main corn supplier. Japan, the world's top corn importer, is projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to import 15 million metric ton in the 2016/17 crop year 9September-August).

Japanese feed makers are required to hold emergency stocks of 850,000 tonnes of feed grains, mainly corn, which is equivalent to about one-month's local demand. The companies need to seek approval from the government to use them in an emergency.

Also, at least one Japanese trade house said it was looking at other sources for corn including China, Australia or Russia, he added.

Blizzards, avalanches and heavy rain in recent weeks have hit the U.S. transport of corn, soy and wheat to ports from where they head for the Asian market.

TAGS: Corn Soybean
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