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Research Projects

FY 2010/2011 Research Topic: 4-05
“Food Crisis” and Maize Supply in Developing Countries


In 2008, there were many incidents associated with “Food Crisis” in the world: a surge of grain prices, export restriction by some food exporting countries, social disturbance in food importing countries, increasing demand for grain to produce fuel, and “land grabbing” by rich countries to secure food supply. Many research institutes analyzed this crisis, mainly focusing on the demand side. Some studies point out that because of increasing demand for fuel and feed, the supply and demand of grains will be tight, and grain prices will remain high. Other studies conclude that the demand growth is not as large as estimated, and there are still plenty of resources to produce grain. These studies reach very different conclusions on food supply and demand.

Instead of analyzing food supply and demand in the world as a whole, like existing studies do, we decided to deconstruct and focus on the supply side of a specific crop in certain countries. We selected maize because it is the most widely produced grain in the world and has a wider variety of uses compared with other grain. We chose seven countries that are principle producers, exporters and consumers (the United States, China, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico), a country whose supply-demand structure changed significantly (Thailand), and a country in which maize is mainly produced for self consumption (Malawi). After establishing the changes in maize demand, we analyze the structure of maize production and its changes in recent years.


April 2010 - February 2011

Members of the Research Project

[ Organizer ] SHIMIZU Tatsuya
[ Co-researchers ] HOKEN Hisatoshi
OE Tetsuo (Associate Professor, Meiji University)
SHIMIZU Junichi (Research Director, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
TAKANE Tsutomu (Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture)
TANI Hiroyuki (Professor, Sophia University)


  • Interim Report (March 2010)
  • Final Report (by the end of 2011)