Individual markets in Africa vary greatly, but the continent as a whole offers significant potential demand for U.S. ethanol exports.
Brian Healy, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) manager of ethanol export market development, recently traveled to Kenya to evaluate and develop opportunities for U.S. ethanol in the continent and speak at a regional ethanol and sugar conference. There, he was able to engage with senior agricultural, energy and environmental ministry officials to learn more about ethanol production, use and trade across the region.
The agricultural sector in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, is undergoing dramatic, positive changes, and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is setting the stage for future demand for U.S. feed grains and co-products there.
Increasing U.S. exports is not just a matter of capturing existing market share. Finding new markets creates additional demand, and helping build those markets secures a preference for U.S. feed grains and value-added products. In West Africa, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is engaging with training programs poultry producers, establishing a brand-new market for U.S. corn.
The U.S. Grains Council's upcoming annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif., is designed around the Advisory Teams (A- Team) -- and for the newly created Middle East and Africa A-Team and Western Hemisphere A-Team, this will be their first official meeting.
"I'm so old I remember when all communications between the U.S. Grains Council's D.C. office and the overseas offices were via fax and Sprintmail," says Cary Sifferath, now marking 20 years of Council service.
Sifferath, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa, has weathered difficult times during his Council career, from the Southeast Asia economic crisis of 1997/98, when he was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to biotech corn issues when he ran the Japan office and more recently the Arab Spring movement, which began outside his front door in Tunisia.
By: Anne Zaczek, U.S. Grains Council manager of global development programs
The World Food Prize annually recognizes individuals across all sectors of the value chain who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. In conjunction with the honors events, it also sponsors the Borlaug Dialogue, an internationally recognized symposium that this year drew more than 1,500 attendees from around the world to explore solutions to the world's current and future food challenges.
The booming economies of developing Asia continue to dominate the near term outlook for food and feed demand, but the question of "what next?" is never far from the surface. With its large and rapidly growing populations and enormous resource base, sub-Saharan Africa is commanding renewed attention.
The U.S. Grains Council, in September 2012, successfully fostered the removal of the value added tax (VAT) and custom tax on all feed imports in Algeria, including distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF). Last week that effort paid off with the first importation of the high-value U.S. products into the nation.
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa