News & Events
Seeing is often believing, which is why the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) brought corn and feed grain buyers from Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to the U.S. Corn Belt in September to talk firsthand with U.S. farmers and export suppliers.
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
In a win-win effort for both the Moroccan feed industry and the United States, the Moroccan government has agreed to reduce the value added tax (VAT) from 20 percent to 7 percent on corn co-products such as DDGS (distiller's dried grains with solubles) and CGF (corn gluten feed).
By Cary Sifferath, USGC Regional Director in Tunisia
Morocco's severe drought has sparked intense mitigation planning by the Moroccan government. The United States is in a strong position to supply distiller's grains, corn gluten feed, corn or sorghum for compound feeds. While Morocco is a market in which the United States has recently faced growing competition from Europe, Russia, the Ukraine, and South America, the extended drought is creating intensified supply pressures and thus opportunities for U.S. exports.
By Cary B. Sifferath, USGC Regional Director in the Mediterranean & Africa
In recent training seminars in Algeria and Morocco, the U.S. Grains Council's first annual U.S. Corn Quality Harvest Report presented regional importers and feed millers with the results of a quality-focused study based on corn samples taken from 12 top-producing states. Algeria and Morocco are growing corn markets, and using actual data to prove U.S. corn quality is a critical step to regaining U.S. market share in the region.
A delegation of U.S. sorghum industry representatives recently traveled to Morocco, Spain and Belgium as the U.S. Grains Council continues its efforts in developing sorghum markets abroad.
With large-scale livestock operations now emerging in Morocco, the U.S. Grains Council recently brought 10 key opinion leaders from the dairy and beef industries, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Moroccan Feed Millers Association to the United States for a look at health issues in large herds.
Currently, Moroccan regulations on importing vaccines are a challenge, requiring livestock producers to file vaccine requests that may face months of delay before even a limited supply of vaccines reaches the farms.
Two major Moroccan grain importers are continuing a pattern of regular sorghum purchases, putting Morocco on course for record U.S. sorghum imports this year.Sales, as of May 19, total 112,000 metric tons (4.4 million bushels), up 57 percent from the same time last year. In comparison, Moroccan purchases totaled 98,000 tons (3.9 million bushels) in the 2009/2010 market year.
Last week, Morocco bought an additional 26,000 tons (1 million bushels).
One of Morocco’s leading grain importers is beginning to shift its buying status from C&F (cost and freight) to FOB (freight on board), a change with important implications for U.S. export sales.
Casa Grains, consistently one of the top three Moroccan importers, buys corn, sorghum, wheat, soybeans and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in large enough volumes to justify contracting for its own freight.
By helping Casa Grains move to FOB purchasing, the Council is also helping the company manage freight costs and control where its grain originates.
U.S. sorghum farmers’ investments in international marketing efforts pay dividends, as evidenced by USDA’s record of sorghum exports to Morocco. According to USDA’s Global Agricultural Trade System, Morocco went from importing no U.S. sorghum in 2009 to nearly 70,000 tons (2.6 million bushels) so far this marketing year through March.
As the agricultural trade industry sees more exporters entering the picture, the U.S. Grains Council is working to ensure U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and their co-products remain competitive. Last week, USGC Manager of International Operations Alvaro Cordero accompanied USGC Consultant Jose Alvarado to Morocco for training sessions with Moroccan and Algerian traders on Free on Board (FOB) contracting.
As a direct result of U.S. Grains Council programs, 7,000 metric tons (276,000 bushels) of U.S. sorghum was tendered to Morocco last week for mid-March delivery. Special checkoff funds from Council member United Sorghum Checkoff Program allowed staff from CasaGrains, the Moroccan poultry feed mill and production facility that tendered the sorghum, to travel to the United States and Mexico last November to view U.S. sorghum production and use firsthand.
The government of Algeria has lifted a value-added tax (VAT) on U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF) for 2018, affording new opportunities this marketing year.
Which comes first - the market or the demand? This is a philosophical question for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses that is perhaps more relevant than chicken or eggs, and one that the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) works to answer from both directions.
In West Africa, a focus on helping start and expand poultry operations is paving the way for new export markets for U.S. feed grains and co-products.
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 (USGC) recently released a new batch of online videos highlighting the importance of building and maintaining trading relationships and the work the Council does in grain markets around the world.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Moroccan Poultry Association (known as FISA) sponsored the first in a series of training programs for West African poultry producers this month in Casablanca, with FISA and the Senegalese Poultry Association further cementing their relationship through a new memorandum of cooperation.
By: Hesham Hassanein, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the National Poultry Federation in Morocco (FISA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week to regulate the use of USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Section 108 funds in that country. The funds will be used for USGC programs from now through 2019.
A team of leaders from COPAG, a dairy and beef cattle cooperative in Morocco, traveled to Texas last week to see firsthand state-of-the-art beef feeding, harvesting and processing on a learning journey sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). In addition, they learned about management techniques that improve quantity and quality of beef harvested.
“A year ago, North Africa was dropping off the charts in terms of U.S. corn sales,” said U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight. “But this year, Egypt may take more corn (whole grain) than China, and Morocco and Tunisia are again buying U.S. corn.”
For the current marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2013 through May 15, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have taken a combined 2.1 million metric tons (82.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn (accumulated exports plus outstanding sales), compared to nothing over the same period last marketing year.
After two consecutive years of low market share for U.S. corn exports to the Middle East and North Africa, the 2013-14 marketing year has seen a sharp rebound in U.S. corn sales and shipments to the region. From the beginning of the marketing year through April 10, outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. corn to North Africa and the Middle East are more than 2.8 million metric tons (110 million bushels), up from 204,500 tons (8 million bushels) the previous year over the same time period.
This week's U.S. Grains Council Chart of the Week shows outstanding sales and accumulated exports of U.S. corn to North Africa and the Middle East for the past three marketing years, which began Sept. 1, through Mid-April for each listed year. With U.S. corn returning to more normal pricing in the 2013/2014 marketing year, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Algeria have all returned to purchasing U.S. corn. Also, Tunisia has once again begun sourcing corn from the United States.
According to USDA's Production, Supply and Distribution database, Egypt is expected to import 6.2 million metric tons (244 million bushels) of corn in the year that began Oct. 1, 2013, which is the second highest level of corn imports to Egypt ever. In this dramatic turnaround, the United States is projected to enjoy at least a 30 percent market share in the 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2014, after the market share dropping to less than one percent during the 2012/2013 marketing year. The U.S.
By: Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director in Middle East and Africa
With U.S. corn and corn co-products priced competitively again, U.S. market share in the Middle East and North Africa region has begun to expand. For examples, Saudi Arabian buyers have begun purchasing U.S. corn and corn co-products again; Egyptian importers have purchased 638,000 metric tons (25.1 million bushels) of U.S. corn for April, May and June shipments on top of the 160,000 tons (6.3 million bushels) that was shipped in December and January; and there have been strong sales of U.S. corn co-products to Turkey, Egypt and Morocco.
Things are looking up for U.S. corn exports to the Middle East and North Africa region.
"With U.S. corn priced competitively again, U.S. market share in the Middle East and North Africa region has potential to expand," said Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director in the Middle East and Africa. "The region is already seeing an increase in U.S. corn imports."
By: Erick Erickson, U.S. Grains Council director of Global Strategies
Strong consumer demand and unrelenting competition define the poultry industry in North Africa and the Middle East. Last week, industry leaders from 65 poultry companies from the region attended a conference hosted by Elanco Animal Health where I had the pleasure of presenting a global grain outlook.
On Oct. 6, 2013, the Moroccan National Poultry Federation (FISA) celebrated Egg Day by bringing 10 finalists from its national egg recipe contest to a final cook-off. Through Egg Day and an annual national egg recipe contest that attracts 5,000 entries, FISA raises consumer awareness of easy and attractive ways to serve eggs. FISA – thanks to training and guidance by the U.S. Grains Council – maintains an ambitious consumer egg promotion campaign with a goal to increase per capita egg consumption in Morocco from 139 per year to 153 per year by 2015.
In September an Algerian commercial importer made the first ever purchase of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF) into Algeria. This was made possible in part by U.S. Grains Council efforts that led to the successfully removal in September 2012 of the value added tax (VAT) and custom tax on all feed imports in Algeria, including DDGS and CGF.
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
Hatam Chaabouni, president of Chaabouni Group in Tunisia, imported his first container of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) in 2010, but high U.S. corn prices subsequently made it increasingly difficult to purchase mixed shipments of corn and DDGS.
Chris Corry, U.S. Grains Council senior director of international operations, is marking his 25th year at the Council with a novel change: He will retire immediately after the July Vancouver meeting to go into business for himself as a real estate agent and developer. He will work with his brother-in-law, rehabbing properties in Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area.
Tunisia, a major producer and exporter of olive oil, is on track to become the largest international export market for U.S. corn oil for back-to-back years. Traditionally Turkey and Saudi Arabia are largest export markets for U.S. corn oil, but due to biotechnology constraints in Turkey, Tunisia quickly stepped in to the number one slot in 2011. Note that the accompanying chart combines both crude corn oil and refined corn oil exports.
By Cary Sifferath, USGC Senior Director in Tunisia
During a recent mission to Libya with the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Wheat Associates, we uncovered a major untapped ruminant market with potential for new U.S. sales of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In addition, the Libyan poultry industry is slowly recovering after the revolutionary upheavals of the last year.
By Cary Sifferath, USGC Regional Director in the Mediterranean and Africa
Corn oil is a preferred product across much of the Middle East and North Africa, and Tunisia -- a major producer and exporter of olive oil -- has emerged as the top regional market for U.S. corn oil in calendar year 2011. That is a big jump for Tunisia, which has traditionally been the number three market for U.S. corn oil exports; Tunisia more than doubled its imports over 2010.
This chart illustrates the dynamics of Morocco's coarse grains supply and demand. The grey area in the chart shows production, which in Morocco is mostly barley. The saw-tooth nature of the production area reflects the weather dependency of Morocco's crop production. The total use and feed use lines show strong growth over time. But that growth can be derailed by a series of bad harvests, as was the case in 2007 and 2008.
Algeria imported 3.5 million metric tons of feed grains last year, with corn reaching 126 million bushels and barley topping 17.7 million bushels. Algeria's corn sales were dominated by Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, France and Romania, and barley sales by France, Finland, the U.K. and Bulgaria. According to Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director, the U.S. market share is estimated at 2 percent overall.
The U.S. Grains Council and Ministry of Agriculture cooperative program to establish a Tunisian central laboratory for feed analysis is well underway, reported Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director.
Since moving into their building last September, the laboratory staff has grown to 13, including two technical engineers and five specialized technicians trained in grain inspection, minerals, crude fat and fiber analysis using atomic absorption spectrometry.
The U.S. Grains Council is re-engaging in Algeria, where a long-established Council program was shut down in the 1990s as Algeria’s civil war put operations and staff at risk.
“Our programs continued to bear fruit after we pulled out,” said Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director. “For a number of years, Algeria maintained its position as one of the top 10 export markets for U.S. corn."
Equipment from the United States – grinders, moisture dockage testers, and more – is scheduled to arrive in Tunisia Oct. 19, reports Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council senior regional director for the Mediterranean and Africa.
“It’s a key step toward establishing the Tunisian Reference Laboratory for Animal Feed Analysis under our five-year agreement with the Tunisian government,” he said. “Our objective is to have the laboratory begin its first phase of operations by this coming January.”
The U.S. Grains Council signed agreements to work through 2011 with Morocco’s red meat producers’ association and poultry association on projects to expand both sectors.
Work with ANPVR, which represents Morocco’s beef, sheep and goat producers, will include bringing beef farmers from its different regions to the Meknes agriculture fair for a program on livestock crossbreeding, the use of high quality feeds, and co-production inclusion in feeds.
Egyptian purchases of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) reached 21,879 metric tons in the first quarter of calendar year 2011 – a major increase over the 12,348 tons imported at this time a year ago – and Dr. Hussein Soliman, U.S. Grains Council director in Egypt, believes imports could reach 350,000 metric tons by 2020.
This belief reflects the Council’s success on several fronts, from introducing DDGS use to multiple animal sectors to encouraging more U.S. grain and co-products suppliers to offer DDGS to their Egyptian customers.
The utilization of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS)—a co-product of U.S. ethanol production used as a feed ingredient for livestock—is gaining popularity in markets around the world. Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds support U.S. producers’ and agribusiness efforts in the development, maintenance and expansion of U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and related co-product exports through the U.S. Grains Council.
The U.S. Grains Council continues to reap benefits from last year’s highly successful Export Exchange 2010 meeting in Chicago – and the ultimate winners are U.S. grain producers and overseas grain consumers.
A discussion between Moroccan and Tunisian feed grain users that began at Export Exchange 2010 has now led one of Morocco’s largest feed grain importers to send top officials to study operations at Tunisia’s Medimix feed company and Chahia poultry company.
Increasing prices for wheat flour, sugar and vegetable oil are having a significant effect on local Tunisian staples, like couscous, bread and pasta. Rising food costs and unemployment were a major factor leading to the social unrest and riots in Tunisia, according to Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director based in Tunisia.
State corn checkoff executives recently traveled to Ukraine to assess its production potential, trade opportunities and market competitiveness.
Iowa Corn Promotion Board CEO Craig Floss participated in the U.S. Grains Council’s State Executives Mission and said he was most surprised by the significant progress Ukrainians are making in areas of their agricultural development.
A 12,000-ton shipment of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) arrived in Tunisia Sept. 19, just a couple of days ahead of a one-day DDGS conference held in Sfax, Tunisia, that was organized in part by the U.S. Grains Council.
About 90 people participated in the conference, including farmers, dairy cooperatives, feed millers and Ministry of Agriculture and other government officials.
Seven recent purchases of U.S. corn by Tunisia have driven the U.S. market share in the country up from 0 to 39 percent, according to the U.S. Grains Council. The purchases, which have taken place within the last three months, total 143,500 metric tons (5.6 million bushels) to date.
As sorghum starts to make inroads into new countries, marketing arms like the U.S. Grains Council and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) play valuable roles in its promotion. As a result, three overseas markets show great potential for imports of the product: Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The U.S. Grains Council signed a five-year cooperation agreement to work with the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture on the development of a Tunisian Central Laboratory of Animal Feed.
By Joe Zenz, Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board Inc.
Traveling on the U.S. Grains Council’s 2009 Corn Mission to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan was an eye-opening experience both from a cultural perspective and a business perspective. First and foremost, I was very impressed with the effectiveness of Council programs there and the high level of people we have working for us in those countries.
America’s Heartland, a television program dedicated to connecting rural and urban America, traveled overseas along with the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Wheat Associates to understand the vital role U.S. farmers play in feeding the world. Dave and Sue Roehm, farmers from Leesburg, Ohio, traveled with the film crew in August to Egypt and Morocco where they saw the investments in their producer checkoff programs hard at work. With sponsorship from the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Dave and Sue were able to show how global their fourth generation family farm really is.