Maize is the third largest planted crop after wheat and rice. It is a cereal crop that is grown widely throughout the world in a range of agro-ecological environments. More maize is produced annually than any other grain. In developed countries, maize is consumed mainly as second-cycle produce, in the form of meat, eggs and dairy products. In developing countries, maize is consumed directly and serves as staple diet for some 200 million people. Most people regard maize as a breakfast cereal.
The Global Demand
World demand for maize in the next 10 years is projected to increase more rapidly than the past: higher demand for animal feed and industrial use are the main drivers whereas the overall per caput growth in food consumption of maize is unlikely to change significantly, even in Africa where white maize is an integral part of local diets in several countries. Large parts of the global maize supply continue to be used in the livestock sectors and favourable prospects for economic growth will provide a further boost to shifts in dietary preferences towards protein-based food and result in even greater demand for all feed grains, including maize. However, it is the brisk demand for industrial use of maize, namely ethanol, which represents the most emerging source of additional demand for maize in the coming decade. In total, maize use, other than for feed and food purposes, is expected to grow by over 30% over the projection period.