The Brazilian government is opening its doors to genetically modified US corn imports as the failure of the country’s second corn crop raises concerns about domestic feed availability, AgriCensus reported the country’s agriculture minister Tereza Cristina as saying.

Speaking at a live-streamed event on 14 June, Cristina said an update about the entry of genetically-modified (GMO) US corn into Brazil would be given shortly.

The type of GMO corn produced in the USA is not grown in Brazil and its import needed to be authorised by the country’s Biosecurity National Technical Commission (CTNBio), according to AgriCensus.

The Brazilian corn market was expected to be particularly tight this year due to the failure in the not-yet-harvested safrinha crop that made up over 70% of the country’s corn output, the report said.

Reduced expected yields due to late planting and dry and warm weather conditions had led the Brazilian food agency Conab to downgrade the country’s corn production estimate by 10M tonnes, AgriCensus wrote, raising concerns about the lack of feed affecting livestock production against a backdrop of rising meat exports and domestic consumption.

“There is not going to be a lack of corn, though prices will remain high,” Cristina said.

In the first five months of the year, Brazil imported around 821,000 tonnes of corn, a 78% year-on-year increase, according to AgriCensus.

Historically, imports from the USA were negligible with most volumes coming from Paraguay, the report said.

Brazil’s safrinha crop is sown in January to March and harvested May to September.