Trade means that a country does not have to be self-sufficient in agriculture to be food secure. Through trade, nations can reduce food costs, diversify diets, increase food quality and achieve a level of prosperity that improves the quality of life for their people as well as greater political and social stability.
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations defines food security as access by all people, at all times, to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
India is a market to watch. The message came through loud and clear from Alan Mustard, Agricultural Minister Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, as he addressed attendees at the 2012 U.S. Grains Council Board of Delegates meeting in Vancouver, Washington. While India is still committed to food self-sufficiency and is still a corn exporter, fast-growing demand coupled with severe supply constraints are likely to force changes in coming years.
In a country whose economy is largely dependent on oil exports, the ethanol industry (and related co-products) is often maligned and a large target of contention and discomfort within Saudi Arabia. However, the proverb "the stone age didn't end from a lack of stones" exemplifies the evolution of energy technology, and in 2011, Saudi Arabia was overtaken by Venezuela as the owner of the world's most known oil reserves. All of this confirmed the notion for what most Saudis were already thinking — the necessity to diversify their economy — and one of the new focuses is agriculture.
A new strain of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is spreading throughout Egypt. As of this writing, 100,000 cattle have been infected and more than 9,000 have died. Council staff recently visited Egypt to disseminate the U.S. Grains Council's inaugural Corn Harvest Quality Report. Everyday, almost every newspaper contained an article on its front page regarding the outbreak and Egypt's transition government's reactions and responses, as reported by MENA (Middle East News Agency).
By Tommy Hamamoto, USGC Director in Japan
We just launched our sorghum website to provide Japanese consumers and the food industry community with comprehensive information on the health benefits of sorghum. We interviewed nutritionists and other field experts to get their insight on how sorghum is a healthy, natural substitute for more conventional grains used in Japanese cooking.
Relationships, regulations, reputation, and respect are key to building market access in China, according to Christine Vick, a principal with The Cohen Group, a leading international strategic consulting firm with long experience in Chinese affairs. Vick was speaking at the U.S. Grains Council’s 51st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in San Francisco, July 25-28.
In the coming years, issues of agricultural trade and food security with the developing world will take on added significance. With a wealth of experience and acumen in these areas and more, trade expert Ellen Levinson will moderate an insightful panel discussion at the U.S. Grains Council’s 51st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting July 25-27 in San Francisco, Calif.
Keynote speaker J.B. Penn, chief economist with Deere & Company, set an optimistic tone during the opening session of the U.S. Grains Council’s 2011 International Marketing Conference and Annual Membership Meeting in New Orleans Monday morning. In a presentation called “Forces Shaping the Agricultural Marketplace of the Future,” Penn credited rising incomes and changes in dietary preferences of the growing middle class in developing countries as important drivers of demand for U.S. coarse grains.
Sixty-eight percent of the U.S. corn crop has been harvested so far this year, compared to just 16 percent in 2009, according to USDA’s Crop Progress Report, nearly double the five-year average of 39 percent.
Illinois reported 93 percent harvested compared to 10 percent in October 2009. This trend is also seen in other states including Iowa, 66 percent harvested compared to 9 percent in 2009; and Minnesota, 47 percent harvested compared to just 3 percent harvested in 2009.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told more than 300 attendees at the U.S. Grains Council sponsored Global Food Security Symposium that the United States and Japan have a special and unique responsibility to respond to challenges in food security.
The Global Food Security Symposium was part of the “Partners-in-Agriculture” series of events, targeted to commemorate the 50 years of agricultural trade partnership between the United States and Japan. The Symposium was held in Tokyo, Japan, April 7.