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Year

Canada

Mexico

United States

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

5.8 5.4 4.8 6.0 6.3 5.9 6.3 6.8 7.1 7.0 7.9 9.7 10.3

1.7 2.6 3.6 5.5 5.4 8.1 7.1 7.2 7.5 8.3 8.8 8.4 9.5

117.1 121.9 133.4 118.9 138.7 119.2 134.0 139.2 138.9 143.9 148.4 148.9 141.3

Table 5.12

Corn feed used for domestic consumption in NAFTA countries (millions of metric tons)

2003 9.0 11.0 147.3

Source: USDA Production, Supply, and Distribution database, 2004.

Corn Production

US corn production is concentrated in midwestern states with regular rainfall patterns and relies on heavy machinery, chemicals, and high- yielding varieties. Mexican corn production, by contrast, is carried out mostly by small-scale, labor-intensive farmers, who cultivate multiple va- rieties.132 Between 70 and 80 percent of total Mexican corn production is on rain-fed farms. About 30 percent of these rain-fed farms are ejidos, col- lective communities that are usually poor (Rosson and Adock 2003). As a consequence, average Mexican corn production yields in 2003 were a frac- tion (2.8 tons per hectare) of average US corn production yields (9.8 tons per hectare; see table 5.14).133 Nevertheless, Mexican corn production in-

132. Before NAFTA, about 60 percent of cultivated agricultural land was used for corn, and that land yielded about 60 percent of total agricultural output (measured by sales value). After NAFTA, some 67 percent of cultivated land was used for corn, but the monetary yield fell to about 36 percent of the value of agricultural output. See Nadal (2000).

133. A comparison with Argentina, a major corn producer and among the top three world corn exporters, reveals the low productivity of Mexican corn farmers. In 1960, average corn production yields in Argentina and Mexico were about 2 and 1 tons per hectare, respectively. By 2001, average corn production in Argentina reached about 6 tons per hectare while Mex- ican corn farmers yielded about 2.8 tons per hectare. Based on UN Food and Agriculture Or- ganization FAOSTAT database, 2003.

AGRICULTURE

331

Institute for International Economics | www.iie.com

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