News & Events
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
Fresh from the record-attendance Export Exchange conference in Minneapolis, teams of international grain buyers fanned out across America, from Ohio to Washington State, and Minnesota to Louisiana. Their goal: to gain information, assess the current U.S. corn crop, explore the availability of other grains such as sorghum and barley, and build relationships leading to future sales.
In August of 2011, the U.S. Grains Council announced its success of getting distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF) added to the Saudi Arabian subsidy list of feed ingredient imports. Since then, Saudi Arabia has imported 24,000 tons of DDGS and nearly 16,000 tons of CGF. Although still a relatively small market, the Council anticipates DDGS and CGF sales will rise as buyers become more familiar with integrating feed rations with these products.
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.
By Joe O’Brian, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director in the Middle East
Last month the U.S. Grains Council contacted every major poultry integrator in Saudi Arabia to educate their dairy and poultry sectors, as well as traders and importers on the benefits of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubes (DDGS) and other commodities during a weeklong poultry outreach.
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.
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).