BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Argentina will export an additional 2.75 million tons of maize from its 2011/12 crop‚ the country's Minister of Agriculture Norberto Yauhar confirmed on Friday.
This will increase the amount of maize to be exported by Argentina from that harvest to 16.45 million tons‚ Yauhar told United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) director-general José Graziano da Silva when they met at the FAO headquarters.
"The additional shipments‚ together with recent better-than-expected figures from the US Department of Agriculture‚ should help ease tight international markets‚" Yauhar said. Argentina‚ the world's second biggest maize exporter‚ was responsible for roughly 15% of the world's maize exports in the last three years.
"This goes to show that there is no threat of a global food crisis at present‚ although we must continue to be vigilant and monitor the situation closely‚" Graziano da Silva added.
The minister spoke about the prospects for the upcoming harvest‚ noting that the outlook for both rainfall and plantings of corn and soybeans were very positive. He added that Argentina had already earmarked 15 million tons of corn and five million tons of wheat for export for the 2012/13 season.
Yauhar also noted that Argentina maintained reserves of one million tons of corn and one million tons of wheat.
"For FAO‚ maintaining food security reserves is a very good strategy that contributes to the stability of domestic prices of food‚" said Graziano da Silva.
Yauhar added that during an official mission to China this week he and the Chinese minister of agriculture discussed the possibility of having strategic food security reserves at regional and international levels.
The FAO director-general expressed interest and support for this proposal and said that he would discuss this issue in his upcoming visit to China in early October.
The drought in the US - the worst in over 50 years - had fuelled fears of a food crisis when the FAO food price index - which measures the prices of internationally-traded commodities - surged 6% in July. The index was unchanged last month‚ however.
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