The U.S. Grains Council this week is working to recapture market share in Japan, the largest market for U.S. corn. As a part of these efforts, the Council recently brought a team of Japanese corn millers to Illinois and Iowa for a firsthand look at corn production.
Over the past year, drought-related supply strains and the emergence of competitive suppliers have hit U.S. share of the Japanese market for corn imports.
Traditionally, the United States has supplied more than 95% of the corn used by the Japanese milling industry but, in 2012, market share fell to only 80%.
"Last year's high U.S. corn prices caused by the drought lost market share for U.S. corn in Japan," said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan. "Reminders of U.S. corn magnitude, reliability and resiliency are an important step to regaining Japanese corn end-users' confidence in the U.S. corn supply."
The team looked specifically at the volume of corn production, met with corn farmers and received updated information on the farming practices used in the United States. The millers, who import approximately 118 million bushels of corn annually, represent a major market for U.S. farmers as they account for 21% of Japan's total corn demand.
"During this trip, the end-users saw that this year's corn crop would be far better than last year's crop, which I believe will lead to a recovery of U.S. market share in the Japanese corn milling industry," Hamamoto said.
Source: National Corn Growers Association