Vital to the overall food system, ethanol is far more than a home-grown fuel source for cars. Almost a third of the nation’s corn crop is used to make ethanol and its byproducts, like the distillers grains livestock producers feed to their cattle and the CO2 manufacturers use to make food and beverages. Unfortunately, ethanol production has nearly ground to a halt as COVID-19 precautions coupled with stay-at-home orders have slashed fuel consumption and restaurant dining, and with it, ethanol use. As of April 7, 62 ethanol plants reported slowdowns and reduced capacity and 44 plants have completely stopped production, e.g., Ethanol Plants Pushed Toward Unprofitability. When ethanol demand goes down, corn prices follow, and the commodity’s price continues to fall heading into planting. The uncertainty of ethanol demand has left many wondering how the industry will get back to normal. This article provides an update on ethanol following its hardest-hit month on record.
Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics
Canadian fruit and vegetable markets were significantly impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2 (and COVID‐19 disease), beginning in March 2020. Due to the closure of restaurants, bars, and schools, produce growers and distributors were forced to shift supplies almost entirely from the foodservice to the retail channel. Shippers reported labor and logistical constraints in making the change, but the fresh produce supply chain remained robust. In the long term, we expect lasting changes in consumers’ online food‐purchasing habits, heightened constraints on immigrant labor markets, and tighter concentration in fresh produce distribution and perhaps retailing.
[学术文献] Trade in Technology: A Potential Solution to the Food Security Challenges of the 21st Century 进入全文
European Economic Review
The recent rise in caloric undernutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) demonstrates the continued relevance of the Malthusian footrace between food availability and population. Sluggish growth in farm productivity in SSA has brought to the fore the key role of agricultural technology in alleviating future food insecurity. We develop a model of technology, food security and international trade with three distinct channels for technology reduce food insecurity in SSA. The first is via greater domestic R&D investment. An alternative is to import technologies from other countries with significant knowledge capital. The third role for technology to resolve the Malthusian dilemma in SSA is that of ‘virtual technology trade’, i.e., importing technological investments undertaken elsewhere through cheaper imported food. To assess the relative contribution of each channel to food security in Africa, we employ a partial equilibrium, quantitative trade model, augmented by a temporal relationship between R&D investments, knowledge capital and agricultural productivity. Over the historical period: 1991-2011 we find that direct R&D investments in SSA have been the dominant vehicle for lowering food prices in Africa. Looking forward to 2050, we find that virtual technology trade will be the most important vehicle for reducing non-farm undernutrition in Africa.
China is considering imposing a devastating 80.5% tariff on Australian barley imports. While that would be a blow to Australia's industry, other countries would likely benefit. The proposed tariff is a result of an ongoing anti-dumping investigation into barley exported from Australia that China’s Ministry of Commerce initiated back in November 2018. It also comes amid heightened tensions between the countries that resulted in China suspending some meat imports from Australia. At the start of the investigation, China’s barley industry requested an anti-dumping tariff of 56.14%. The proposed rate may increase to 73.6% following investigations by Chinese authorities. This rate coupled with a “subsidy margin” of up to 6.9% would amount to a tariff of 80.5%, effectively putting an end to Australian barley sales to China. The investigation is scheduled to finalize by May 19, 2020.
The initial outlook for 2020/21 U.S. wheat is for smaller supplies, decreased domestic use, lower exports, and reduced stocks. Supplies are decreased by 121 million bushels from 2019/20 on lower carry-in stocks and smaller production. The 2020/21 U.S. wheat crop is projected at 1,866 million bushels, down 3 percent from last year on lower yields offsetting higher harvested acreage. The all-wheat yield is projected at 49.5 bushels per acre, down 2.2 bushels from last year. The first 2020 NASS survey-based winter wheat production forecast of 1,255 million bushels is down 4 percent from 2019, on lower Hard Red Winter and White Winter production. Total 2020/21 domestic use is projected down nearly 3 percent on reduced feed and residual use as record-large 2020/21 corn supplies are expected to displace wheat for feeding. Higher food use is partially offsetting as 2020/21 is projected up 2 million bushels to 964 million, up from a revised 2019/20 estimate of 962 million, which was raised 7 million this month. The NASS Flour Milling Products report, issued on May 1, indicated an unusually large volume of wheat was ground for flour in the first quarter of 2020. Exports for 2020/21 are projected at 950 million bushels, down 20 million from the revised 2019/20 exports. Greater global 2020/21 export competition is expected for the United States with several major exporters projected having larger supplies. Projected 2020/21 ending stocks are 69 million bushels lower than last year at 909 million. The projected season-average farm price is $4.60 per bushel, unchanged from last year as the outlook for low U.S. corn prices is expected to restrain 2020/21 U.S. wheat prices.
Last week USDA released import and export trade data for March 2020, an important new piece of information in understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. While the first stay-at-home orders didn’t begin until mid-March, concerns about the virus began several weeks before, impacting businesses and consumer purchasing behavior nearly the entire month of March. While we have been able to fairly immediately measure some domestic impacts, like those on the stock market, unemployment and store closings to name a few, the effect on international trade has been a bit harder to gauge because that data is on a two-month time delay. However, this new data helps bring the trade picture into focus. Overall, the U.S. had a negative ag trade balance of $501 million in March 2020, down sharply from March 2019, when the balance was positive $70 million. March 2020’s year-over-year decline was fueled by a 1% decrease in exports, while imports rose 3%. On a regional basis, the U.S. saw a decline in net exports in all regions, except for South Asia. In many regions, both exports and imports in March 2020 were higher than in March 2019, though the growth in imports outpaced exports. For example, in North America, U.S. exports rose $179 million, while imports rose $262 million, leading to a net export loss of $83 million in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Unsurprisingly, the region with the largest decline in net exports was East Asia, which includes China.