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History was made in 2016 in Bangladesh’s feed industry, thanks to resources provided by the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program being used in that country by the U.S. Grains Council.
There, the Council invested approximately $150,000 of MAP funds in programming and educational activities, beginning in 2014. By 2016, U.S.-origin corn found its way to the shores of Bangladesh for the first time in history, with total sales worth $17 million, for a return on investment (ROI) of $113 for every $1 invested.
The Council has been very active and engaged in Bangladesh for the past two years, including bringing a strong contingent of Bangladeshi corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) buyers to the Council’s Export Exchange conference in October 2014. This commitment and investment into the country laid the groundwork for USGC staff, supported with FMD funds, to meet with important grain buyers and create a window of opportunity.
In April 2016, USGC staff from South Asia traveled to India, Bangladesh’s main corn supplier, to meet with local end-users and traders. Learning that corn exports from India were hard to come by and uncompetitive in the global market, they planned follow-up visits in Bangladesh in August to share information with Bangladeshi buyers about how alternative sources of corn would be more economical. This holistic approach to corn procurement is something that has never been done before, as Bangladesh was always content with supplying their corn needs from India, for the sake of convenience.
Within a week of the USGC visits, there were informal reports of U.S. corn purchases by buyers in the country, and official U.S. corn purchases showed up on export documents shortly thereafter. Bangladesh imported 105,900 metric tons of U.S. corn in 2016, valued at $17 million.
While Bangladesh presents a brand new market opportunity for the U.S. corn industry, more traditional markets in Southeast Asia were also beneficiaries of Council programming. Due to the same lack of production in India that spurned Western Hemisphere corn imports into Bangladesh, countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also took advice from the Council to shift purchases back to the United States.