High supplies and low prices: Does the world really need more corn?

| | September 29, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Monsanto Co is working to develop what it hopes will be North America’s fastest-maturing corn, allowing farmers to grow more in Western Canada and other inhospitable climates, such as Ukraine.

The seed and chemical giant projects that western Canadian corn plantings could multiply 20 times to 10 million acres by 2025 – adding some 1.1 billion bushels, or nearly 3 percent to current global production.

The question, amid historically high supplies and low grain prices, is whether the world really needs more corn.

Abundant supplies have helped lower food prices across the world, but the benefit to consumers and impoverished nations is muted by several factors, including problems with corruption and distribution of food in developing regions, said Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy at Canada’s Dalhousie University.

The bumper harvests may actually harm poor communities more than they benefit their residents in food savings because lower prices depress farm incomes in the same areas, said John Baffes, a senior economist at the World Bank.

Even as farmers reap bountiful harvests, U.S. net farm incomes this year will total $63.4 billion – about half of their earnings in 2013, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Special Report: Drowning in grain – How Big Ag sowed seeds of a profit-slashing glut

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