News & Events
Which comes first - the market or the demand? This is a philosophical question for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses that is perhaps more relevant than chicken or eggs, and one that the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) works to answer from both directions.
In West Africa, a focus on helping start and expand poultry operations is paving the way for new export markets for U.S. feed grains and co-products.
Sixteen poultry producers and technicians from Guinea participated in a training program in Morocco in July, the third in a series coordinated by the Council and the Moroccan Poultry Association (FISA) since March 2017. These training programs link to larger capacity building efforts for the West African poultry industry, which in turn supports longer-term market development for U.S. grain exports into the region.
The train-the trainers program involved a combination of short courses and hands-on application at Avipole farm, a poultry training center run by FISA. Trainees also visited commercial broiler farms, feed mills and processing facilities.
Interest continues to increase following each of the prior trainings, which included participants from Senegal and Côte d’Ivore. For the most recent training, a Moroccan agribusiness also sponsored three trainees from Cameroon in addition to the 16 from Guinea.
“It is encouraging to see buy-in from participants and local organizations, as it ensures the program’s sustainability” said Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies, who oversees the Council's programs in Africa.
These training programs capitalize on the rapid evolution of the Moroccan poultry industry over the past 20 years. The Council believes the poultry industry, focused on the cheapest and most commonly consumed meat source in West Africa, will also expand dramatically due to economic growth and urbanization.
“The Council sees the poultry sector as the driving force for this future pocket of demand for feed grains,” said Anne Zaczek, USGC manager of global development programs. “As the poultry sectors in these countries continue to grow and expand, the need for imports of feed ingredients will rise.”
Sales have already started to Senegal and Nigeria, which imported 245,000 metric tons (9.6 million bushels) of U.S. corn in 2017.
The Council projects future growth for feed grain demand in the region and, to meet that rising demand, will continue to expand its regional engagement in West Africa in the coming months and years. With additional support from the Missouri Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), USGC and FISA have three more training sessions planned between September and November 2017.