Maize

World production of maize (corn; Zea mays) is nearly 600 million tonnes annually (Table 1). About 20% is used directly for human food, and about 10% is used in industrial processing to yield oil and other products including starch, syrups, flour, and grits for food and other uses. Maize is grown in tropical and warm temperate regions.

Table 2 Food use of cereals, 2000; figures are per capita supply in grams per day

Total

Ricea

Maize

Wheat

Barley

Sorghum

Millets

Oats

Rye

Otherb

World

503

236

51

187

3.0

10.8

9.8

1.3

2.9

2.2

Asia (excluding China and the

584

350

35

181

2.1

6.4

8.3

0.2

0.4

1.3

Russian Federation)

North and Central America

364

46

111

197

1.1

3.1

0.0

2.9

0.5

3.0

China

622

366

44

203

1.2

2.5

2.5

0.4

0.5

2.1

Europe(excluding the Russian

365

19

19

294

4.3

0.0

1.7

4.3

21.7

1.1

Federation)

Africa

421

78

115

125

8.3

51.2

35.9

0.4

0.1

7.3

South America

347

128

60

150

1.3

0.0

0.0

5.9

0.1

1.0

Russian Federation

415

20

1

355

2.5

0.0

6.5

3.3

25.5

0.3

Oceania

251

65

9

168

0.2

1.5

0.0

3.3

1.0

2.5

aPaddy (rough) rice.

includes other cereals, pseudocereals, mixed grains, and their products not accounted for elsewhere. Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAOsTAT data at http://faostat.fao.org/accessed May 2003.

aPaddy (rough) rice.

includes other cereals, pseudocereals, mixed grains, and their products not accounted for elsewhere. Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAOsTAT data at http://faostat.fao.org/accessed May 2003.

Maize is a dietary staple in parts of Africa. Food use is highest in Lesotho (427 g day-1 per person) and is 300-400 g day-1 per person in other southern and eastern African countries (Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa) and in Mexico, where it has a pre-Colombian tradition. Food use is 200-300 g day-1 per person in Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, Kenya, El Salvador, and Honduras and 100-200 g day-1 per person in Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Columbia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, North Korea, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Romania, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, and Venezuela. A harvested grain of maize is a caryopsis. There is a wide range of types varying in grain size, color, and endosperm characteristics. These include white, yellow, and red types and types with endosperms ranging from soft and floury to hard and flinty textures. Sweetcorn is generally regarded as a vegetable; it is harvested before the grain is mature and has a high water content (70-90%).

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