Prasanna, B.M.

Maize in Asia - trends, challenges and opportunities - Mexico, DF (Mexico) CIMMYT : 2011 - p. 3-6

Globally, 765 million metric tons (m t) of maize were harvested in 2010 from just under 153 million hectares (m ha). About 73 per cent of this area was located in the developing world, with again a predominant proportion of this area in the low and lower middle income countries. Asia?s contribution to the worldwide harvested maize area as well as production has been significantly increasing. The major maize producers in Asia are China and D.P.R. Korea in East Asia; Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand in Southeast Asia; India, Pakistan and Nepal in South Asia; and Turkey and Iran in West Asia. It is notable that eight major maize-producing countries in Asia ? China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam ? taken together, now produce 98% of Asia?s maize and 26% of global maize (Erenstein, 2010); in all these countries, maize is predominantly grown under rainfed conditions by the smallholder, resource-poor farmers. Hence, maize plays an important role in the livelihoods of millions of poor farmers, not only in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia.|The maize scenario in Asia is somewhat unique compared to the rest of the world. Firstly, 70% of the total maize produced in Asia is used for feed purposes, 23% as food, and 7% for other uses. By contrast, in sub-Saharan Africa, maize is mainly a food crop accounting for 73% and 64% of the total demand in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and Western and Central Africa (WCA), respectively (Shiferaw et al., 2011). Although the maize feed market is rapidly growing, especially in countries such as China, India and Indonesia, maize is still an important staple food in many countries/areas in Asia, especially in the hills and tribal regions of Nepal, Bhutan, and India. Secondly, in terms of grain preference, unlike sub-Saharan Africa where white maize plays a highly dominant role as food, in almost all the Asian maize-growing countries, the demand is mostly for yellow maize. Despite these differences, the resource-poor maize farmers in Asia face many challenges that are shared by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America; among many, these include poor purchasing capacity, an array of abiotic and biotic stresses, poor soil fertility, and limited access to quality seed (particularly in the non-commercial belts).


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