USGC Board Reviews Council Market Development Activities In West Africa

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) leaders closed out a successful year with a trip to Senegal last month to examine the results of recent training and market development programs the Council has sponsored over the past five years, to learn more about the local agricultural industry and relevant domestic policies and to understand how the Council can continue to support economic growth in the region.

USGC Chairman Brent Boydston was joined by USGC Vice Chairwoman Verity Ulibarri; USGC Secretary-Treasurer Mark Wilson; USGC Past Chairman Josh Miller; USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand; USGC Senior Director of Global Strategies Kurt Shultz; USGC Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Ramy Taieb and USGC Deputy Directors for EMEA Mohamed Salah Bouthour and Ana Maria Ballesteros.

“This is an important opportunity for both our staff and board members to take a closer look at the Council’s training programs in West Africa and evaluate successes and growth points for the future,” Boydston said. “By conducting these meetings, the Council can better establish a long-term strategy that will benefit farmers, agribusinesses and consumers here in Senegal and strengthen long-term export markets in West Africa for U.S. producers in the process.”

The delegation met with USDA officials, domestic feed producers and poultry farmers in Dakar to better understand their working practices and the demands of the Senegalese market. The team then visited with several past poultry industry trainees to see how they had applied the lessons learned in training to improve their business practices.

The group also met with feed industry representatives who had gone through training at the Council Feed Training Center in Tunis, Tunisia, and, as a result, started importing U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

The visit concluded with discussions with the Senegalese Ministry of Livestock to gain a different perspective on the agriculture industry’s needs to support the region’s rapid growth and what the Council and its collaborators can provide and strategic planning meetings as the Council prepares to ramp up its programs in West Africa over the next five years, building on the successes of past programming.

“I really appreciate the diverse group of industry stakeholders we were able to speak with during our time here, from individual farmers all the way up to government officials,” Boydston said. “This ensures that the Council sees the full picture in this market and can tailor its work to assist each working part of the Senegalese agricultural industry.”