USGC, USCP Work To Expand Global Sorghum Market To Europe, Africa

Generating interest in U.S. sorghum around the globe, including in places like the European Union and South Africa, is a priority for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) as they work to create steady, long-term demand for this coarse grain.

While China has been the main buyer of U.S. sorghum in recent years, the Council and USCP recognize the importance of having a diversified market for this commodity grain. For this reason, these organizations have been working in traditional and potentially new markets to provide education about U.S. sorghum and stoke new demand.

Following a USGC mission to South Africa earlier this year and a subsequent reverse trade team to the United States, South African buyers made purchases U.S. sorghum and were very impressed with the quality of the shipment.

USGC and USCP also recently hosted a team of commercial grain traders and end-users from the EU in the United States to showcase U.S. sorghum harvest.

"In recent years, U.S. sorghum exports to the EU have decreased dramatically due to prices rallies caused by China's demand for the grain," said USGC Manager of Global Trade Manuel Sanchez. "However, if U.S. sorghum becomes competitively priced again, EU buyers will become interested in purchasing it. It is imperative that the U.S. sorghum industry maintain and build contacts with its customers in the EU so we can re-engage quickly in this market when an opportunity presents itself."

The EU team's visit focused on relationship building and technical education, with a visit to the National Grain Center in Kansas City; meetings with traders; and tours of farms, grain elevators and export terminal facilities. In addition, the group completed a short course at Kansas State University that was focused on U.S. sorghum procurement, quality characteristics, feed formulation and inclusion rates.

"Cultivating new marketplaces in non-traditional uses is critical in advancing opportunities for U.S. farmers," said Florentino Lopez, USCP executive director. "Our collaborative efforts in identifying, educating and motivating new marketplaces to source U.S. commodities is a must. Efforts like these help build demand that we hope encourages price appreciation."

Missions and trade teams, like the ones with the EU and South Africa, are important parts of the Council's work to develop a strong, long-term markets for U.S. coarse grains. The recent EU trade team is one step closer toward accomplishing that goal for U.S. sorghum.

Click here to view more photos from the recent mission.