China to produce more corn than rice for first time

Growing affluence of country's middle class spurring demand, says U.S. Grains Council

China will produce more corn than rice in 2013 for the first time in the country’s history, thanks to a more affluent middle class and its demand for a more protein-rich diet, according to the U.S. Grains Council.

Demand for meat in China has experienced significant growth over the past 20 years, with poultry consumption increasing by 300 percent. During that period, pork consumption increased by 85 percent and beef consumption has increased 155 percent. At the same time, demand in the U.S. has remained relatively static for pork and beef, which have risen only by six and three percent, respectively. Only the poultry sector made major gains, but with only a 45 percent increase in demand, the gains seem low compared to those made in China.

While rice remains a staple in China, says the U.S. Grains Council, as diets shift toward protein-rich foods, the livestock sector demand for feed ingredients such as corn will increase both in the U.S. for export and overseas for domestic industries.