An audio series from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), recently distributed through the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s (NAFB’s) News Service and available online, details how the Council is working to build markets of tomorrow for U.S. coarse grains and co-products, including in emerging markets in Africa.
The Council is continually looking for new overseas market possibilities for U.S. feed grains, related products and ethanol, which can be turned into steady export partners given the proper investment of time and engagement.
“There are always going to be new markets out there, and they are longer-term. They are not a fast return on investment, so how do we create markets and expand the demand pool for the agriculture sector in the future?” said Kurt Shultz, USGC senior director of global strategies. “That’s really why it’s really important to have a diversified approach looking at short, medium and long-term investments and making sure that we cultivate all these so that they grow and they benefit U.S. agriculture.”
In terms of Africa, increasing population, urbanization and a rising middle class are all factors that demonstrate long-term demand. As a result, the Council is working in these markets now to help end-users and customers learn how to match the growth in demand for their products with expanding their operations – and instilling a belief in the quality, reliability and value of U.S. coarse grains and co-products.
In Tanzania, the Council is working to develop and grow the poultry and feed industry. Started with funding from the Council’s membership and USDA’s Food for Progress program and now boosted with an infusion of funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, this work includes working with a Tanzanian feed lab to develop its testing capabilities, working to professionalize regional partners and feed associations and conducting educational seminars with poultry producers and feed manufacturers.
“We’ve really been laying the foundation over the past five years to build up the local commercial industry through providing technical trainings to poultry producers and feed manufacturers,” said Katy Wyatt, USGC manager of global strategies. “We’ve expanded our engagement outside of focusing on programs targeting development of the industry and now are starting to be more focused on building a potential future trade relationship with Tanzania.
“We recently had our first commercial program in Tanzania where we had Council staff as well as sorghum and DDGS nutritionists and a trader travelling to Tanzania and conduct a technical and nutritional seminar focused on sorghum and DDGS and their uses.”
To truly establish trade flows into these markets, however, the Council must also work with both industry and local governments to identify and address any potential barriers to trade.
“One of the first steps is to begin working closely with potential customers and importers and build relationships and understanding on how they can benefit from importing our products,” said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. “And then at the same time, we must identify any specific tariffs or non-tariff barriers that would impede our ability to export into those markets. That requires that we work with these customers to help persuade their respective governments to eliminate or reduce any of these specific trade impediments.”
All of this work combines to achieve the Council’s mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives – for both U.S. farmers and their international customers.
“With populations growing at such a rapid pace and changing demographics, customers have the opportunity to partner with the U.S. and find U.S. feed grains to be sustainable, preferred, trusted commodities to be imported,” Wyatt said. “There’s a value to the U.S. industry as well as these overseas customers.”
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.