In A Virtual World, Grain Buyers From East, West Africa Join Purchasing Training For First Time

For the first time, four leading grain purchasers and end-users from East and West Africa joined 15 other participants from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region attending a course at Kansas State University’s IGP Institute on grain procurement and purchasing.

Ensuring this set of U.S. grain buyers has a comprehensive understanding and familiarity with the U.S. grain marketing system is a critical component of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) work globally.

“Having exposure to the technical assistance and expert intel provided by IGP is important for those in the region already familiar with U.S. feed grains, but also for those that may have limited engagement with the U.S. system – who may in the future become ‘new’ purchasers of these commodities,” said Katy Wyatt, USGC manager of global strategies.

Due to travel and in-person limitations brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the short course is being taught virtually with seven sessions taught in a live lecture format. The course covers all aspects of grain purchasing, from an overview of ocean freight and logistics and risk management tools to a review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) grain grading and standards.

“This course provides a key opportunity for customers in the region to gain insights into the complexities of the U.S. grain marketing system,” Wyatt said. “It also provides the opportunity for customers to engage directly with experts in grain procurement and purchasing, allowing them to engage with others in the region, and IGP staff to address questions they have about the U.S. grain system.”

The Middle East and Africa region remains a growing destination for U.S. grain sales, importing more than 1.5 MMT (59.1 million bushels) of new crop corn already this marketing year. It is critical for MEA customers to be familiar with how to purchase from the United States, especially as the region faces growing competition from South American and Black Sea origins. Expanding customers’ understanding of and confidence in the U.S. grain marketing system enables them to make informed and effective purchasing decisions.

As the MEA region continues to grow, the Council has specifically focused on future market opportunities for U.S. feed grains in both East and West Africa – especially those buyers working within the poultry and feed industries.

“Understanding the U.S. futures market and basis trading is essential for customers globally to make informed purchasing decisions. A better understanding of the U.S. grain supply allows customers to be assured that they are purchasing quality, trusted feed grains when purchasing from the U.S.,” Wyatt said.

“The training is essential for these East and West African buyers because it will help pave the way for increased demand for U.S. feed grains across the MEA region.”

Learn more about the Council’s work in the Middle East and Africa.