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Processed Sweet Corn in Selected Countries
|U.S. sweet corn production for processing in Calendar Year (CY) 2001 is estimated at 2.76 million metric tons, down 4 percent from 2000, due mainly to a decline in contracted acreage and low wholesale prices. U.S. canned sweet corn (CSC) exports during the first 9 months of 2001 totaled 107,152 tons, down 18 percent from the same period in 2000. U.S. exports of CSC to Asia during the first 9 months of 2001 dropped to 74,343 tons, down 13 percent as compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, U.S. exports of frozen sweet corn to Asia are up 18 percent. The United States has also seen a major drop in CSC exports to the European Union (EU). During the first 9 months of 2001, U.S. exports to the EU totaled only 13,405 tons, down 51 percent from the same period in 2000. However, U.S. frozen sweet corn exports to the EU more than doubled in volume as compared to the same period in 2000. U.S. exports of CSC for CY 2001 are forecast at 149,174 tons, down 19 percent from 2000. U.S. exports of frozen sweet corn for CY 2001 are forecast at 51,211 tons, up 11 percent from the same period last year.|
Production of sweet corn for processing in the United States in Calendar Year 2001 is estimated at 2.76 million tons, down 4 percent from 2000. A 3-percent decrease in contracted harvested acreage accompanies a 0.15 ton per hectare decrease in yield when comparing 2001 to 2000. Minnesota, which accounts for over a fourth of the U.S. sweet corn crop for processing, had a wet spring followed by several weeks of hot and dry conditions causing the crop to mature unevenly. New Yorks yield is low because of drought conditions. Oregons yield is above average this year due to ideal weather conditions in the Willamette Valley, where most vegetables are grown. In western Washington, harvest was expected to be a week to ten days behind normal. In the Quincy area, winds have been prevalent this year, challenging crop development. According to the Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. production of sweet corn for canning in 2001 is estimated at 1.40 million tons (567,654 tons, net product weight), down 15 percent from 2000. Production of sweet corn for freezing for the same period is estimated at 1.36 million tons (367,784 tons, net product weight), up 2 percent from 2000.
Production of CSC in Thailand in 2001 is estimated at 28,000 tons, up 8 percent from the previous year. This increase in output is attributed mainly to an expansion in planted area of sweet corn. Most sweet corn packers have increased their contracts of fresh production with farmers in response to strong export demand for CSC in 2001. Production of fresh sweet corn in MY 2001/02 is forecast to be close to the 120,000 tons of the previous year. About 60 percent of total production will be delivered for CSC production, while the balance will be used for fresh consumption and frozen sweet corn production. Prices for fresh sweet corn are favorable in MY 2001/02 due to increased buying competition among canneries.
Regarding CSC exports, Thailand has benefitted from reduced supplies in France and the United States, and the relatively strong U.S. dollar in 2001. Thailands CSC exports grew sharply in the first seven months of 2001 to 20,814 tons, up 31 percent from the same period in 2000. In addition to increased exports to such traditional destinations as South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, there has been a sharp increase in new markets such as the United States and the Russian Federation. Due to its relatively cheaper prices against U.S. domestic supplies, exports to the United States have jumped from only 194 tons in the first seven months of 2000 to 1,001 tons in 2001. Meanwhile, exports to the Russian Federation grew from less than 100 tons during January-July 2000 to 1,115 tons in 2001.
Thailand has been successful in promoting exports of CSC in the past decade, from less than 500 tons in 1992 to an estimated 30,000 tons in 2001. Thailands export markets now cover more than 60 countries, mainly in Asia and Europe. This development reflects Thailands advantage in year-round fresh production, cheap labor costs, relative proximity to buying destination, and the strong effort by Thai entrepreneurs to improve the quality of sweet corn products. Although packers admit that it would be difficult to compete in quality with the United States, Thailand is likely to pose some threat to the United States in Asian markets in the near future. This is because continued unfavorable economic conditions may induce Asian consumers to look for acceptable-quality products with cheaper prices.
The frozen sweet corn industry in Thailand is still vulnerable due to its relative high cost operations and a lack of domestic consumption. Production of frozen sweet corn has become a profitable side line for a few prevailing frozen vegetable operators. After a sharp reduction in MY 2000/01, exports of frozen sweet corn in MY 2001/02 may recover somewhat due mainly to decreased worldwide supplies.
Thailand remains the worlds largest supplier of canned baby corn. Production of canned baby corn in Thailand in 2001 is estimated at 56,000 tons, down 3 percent from the revised level in 2000, due mainly to lowering world prices as financial weakness continues among Thai packers who compete to sell their product. Fierce competition among Thai packers prevents Thailand from controlling global prices. Exports account for nearly all of Thailands canned baby corn production. According to trade sources, the average f.o.b. export prices for Thai canned baby corn dropped from US$ 8-13 per case in 2000 to US$6-11 per case. In 2001, the United States continued to be Thailands best customer for canned baby corn, followed by the Netherlands, Japan, and Germany.
France is the leading European producer of processed sweet corn, with 85 percent of EU CSC production and 70 percent of EU frozen sweet corn production. After a number of years of expanding production in response to increasing consumer demand, French production stabilized in 1998, due to declining consumption. This was considered due to consumer concerns regarding biotechnology.
In France, sweet corn production for processing includes canned and frozen product. In 2001, production of CSC is estimated at 243,000 tons (gross weight), nearly unchanged from the revised total of 243,800 tons in 2000. A large portion of the bulk of Frances sweet corn output is slated for the export market. In 2000, the EU countries accounted for approximately 85 percent of the CSC output and 70 percent of frozen output. The decline in French domestic demand for CSC recorded in 1999 and 2000 was mainly due to French consumers fears that sweet corn products contained genetically-modified corn. As a result, French sweet corn growers launched an educational campaign informing the public of the absence of genetically engineered corn in their production or imports into France or Europe, in hopes of raising consumption levels. Current evidence shows that French consumers remain skeptical and have reduced their purchases of processed sweet corn.
France is a net exporter of canned and frozen sweet corn, but imports products from the United States, Thailand, and Italy. In Marketing Year 2000/01, these suppliers accounted for 40, 23 and 11 percent of the French CSC market, respectively. French imports of CSC declined by 41 percent in 2000 from 1999, and shipments were reduced from each supplying country. Reportedly, French domestic demand for U.S. sweet corn is likely to grow when it is certified non-GMO. During this same period French exports totaled 104,780 tons, up 20 percent from the previous year. Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain accounted for 63 percent of total exports.
As Germanys generally cold weather is not optimal for the production of sweet corn, the country produces only small amounts, which are primarily consumed fresh. Imports account for the bulk of Germanys domestic sweet corn consumption. In CY 2000, Germany imported 66,475 tons of CSC (unchanged from the previous year) and 11,637 tons of frozen sweet corn (down 4.3 percent from 1999). France continued to be the biggest supplier of CSC, although in recent years it has lost market share. In contrast, Hungary, the second most important supplier to the German market, has increased its share from 17 percent in CY 1999 to 23 percent in 2000.
In CY 2000, the United States has been able to increase its exports of CSC to Germany by 11.2 percent to 7,420 tons, which makes it the fifth largest supplier of preserved sweet corn. This is especially remarkable given the unfavorable DM/US$ exchange rate in CY 2000. On the other hand, U.S. exports of frozen sweet corn to Germany dropped dramatically from 296 tons in CY 1999 to 51 tons in 2000, which is a decline of 83 percent.
(The FAS Attache Report engine contains reports on processed sweet corn for 4 countries, including the United States, Thailand, France and Germany. For information on production and trade, contact Erik Hansen at 202-720-0875. For information on marketing contact Elizabeth Mello at 202-720-9903. For additional information on sweet corn, please visit our processed vegetables web page at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/htp/horticulture/Proc_Veg.html)