Japan delays corn imports
Japanese corn importers are delaying the purchase of the grain after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged ports in the nation's northeast, suspending unloading operations from vessels, said Nobuyuki Chino, president of Unipac Grain Ltd.
“Japanese companies have not made deals to buy corn since the quake hit the nation,” Chino, was reported to have said. “They need to assess how demand for the grain may change after the incident.”
Japan is the world’s largest importer, importing about 12 million metric tons of corn for feed production annually and secures about 90% of the grain from the US, the largest exporter.
According to Eri Utamaru, at the agriculture ministry’s livestock department, Japan may have lost about 20% of the nation’s feed production after the tsunami flooded ports and feed production facilities. Corn represents about half of Japan’s livestock feed output estimated at 24 million tons a year.
Zen-Noh, Japan’s largest corn buyer, plans to boost feed production in facilities that escaped damage to ensure supplies to livestock farmers in northeast Japan.
t may take six months for damaged feed plants and grain storage facilities in northeastern Japan to resume operations, Chino said. Before that, Japanese feed producers will increase output in other areas for shipments to growers of pigs, chickens and cows in the northeast, he said.
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