News: General News
USSEC recently attended the Pakistan Edible Oils Conference (PEOC) and visited customers in Pakistan, in addition to holding Asia Subcontinent (ASC) staff planning meetings in India.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter and USSEC Acting ASC Regional Lead and Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition Pam Helmsing traveled to New Delhi and Agra, India and Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan from January 13 – 26. During that time, they met with customers and potential customers of U.S. Soy in Pakistan to hear about their markets and concerns and talk about the value of U.S. Soy; Mr. Sutter spoke at the PEOC event; and they worked with the ASC team to plan for the execution of existing and future programs.
Mr. Sutter addressed approximately 500 attendees at PEOC, speaking about the value and sustainability of U.S. Soy. After the PEOC event, meetings with Pakistani crushers and feed mills took place.
USSEC’s plans in Pakistan include: technical training for the solvent extractor industry; nutritional expertise for the poultry industry; possible assistance with demand building for poultry, including nutritional information and countering junk science that says poultry is harmful; possible U.S. Soy oil promotion assistance to position soy oil as a premium brand; and the possibility of bringing a group to Kansas State University for soybean procurement training through a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cochran grant.
Palm and canola currently dominate the oil market in Pakistan, although soybean imports for crush have increased dramatically. The industry recognizes that oil produced with U.S. Soy is lighter in color and has a lower cost of processing than soy from South America. There continues to be a preference for canola and palm, however, because of higher oil contents and consumer preference. Pakistani crushers are very price sensitive. They admit that they are unable to take U.S. Soy and produce as high a quality of soybean meal as can be imported from the U.S. and are anxious to learn how to improve their processes to do so.
Because purchases of soy by individual companies are rather small, purchases are usually made with multiple consignors. This means competitors are getting the same quality at the same price at the same time, which leads to consensus opinions about the quality and/or issues with product from a given country or supplier. This is true for both soybean meal and whole beans. The industry is moving toward some bulk handling.
The feed industry also recognizes the difference in quality between U.S. soybean meal and meal produced locally from U.S. beans. They note that the quality is improving. The feed industry is sophisticated and recognizes the value of U.S. Soy, both intrinsic and extrinsic advantages, and is looking for ways to calculate what premium they can afford to pay for U.S. origin.
The poultry industry has been growing at a rate of eight to ten percent yearly, but there are some plateau years. Profitability is low, with chicken at about two-thirds the price of lentils. The two major barriers to growth in chicken consumption are poverty and misinformation about the quality of poultry meat. The Pakistan Poultry Association is planning a feeding program at a few public schools, providing eggs and chicken legs to children and will collect data to show improvements in health, school attendance and learning.
USSEC hosted a team of 12 animal utilization (AU) industry representatives from core customer companies from 5 Latin American countries to the New Orleans area in October 2016.
Through a series of visits and meetings over the course of three days, the customers gained first-hand exposure to some of the advantages of U.S. Soy, in relation to logistics, finance, and quality. Participants had the opportunity to interact with two USSEC member firms, a shipping agent, and USSEC consultant experts, and discuss purchasing and maritime freights.
The visit to Thionville Laboratories catered to specific interests expressed by customers from the Dominican Republic, English-speaking Caribbean, and Mexico. The CEO of Thionville Laboratories extended a warm welcome to the team and shared information relating to the technical aspects of surveying, its conditions, requirements, and advantages. The staff in charge of the laboratory and analysis discussed technical topics ranging from sampling procedures, to input analysis methods, to the equipment and resources available, and the most current techniques. The team had the unique opportunity to see the laboratory conduct a series of tests on soybean meal samples that had been submitted in advance by one of the firms in attendance, giving way to in-depth discussions.
CHS Inc. hosted the team at their Myrtle Grove facilities. It was the first time most of the members of the group had ever visited a port and export facilities, where they could tour and interact with trading representatives and local staff in charge. This opportunity led to discussions focused on current market perspectives, loading and exporting processes, execution of contracts, and competitive logistics in the U.S.
The third visit took place at Bluewater Shipping, Inc. After a presentation about their company and the services they offer, the discussion turned to the information and resources available to keep track and evaluate logistics and shipping, and follow-up vessels en route.
During the site visits, USSEC consultants Mark Kuehl (expert on freights), Ronald Perez and Francisco Cabrera (experts on purchasing and contracting), discussed the following topics with the group: pricing of products, domestic river and barge logistics, elevation facilities, and related costs. Mr. Kuehl conducted a presentation on maritime freights, freight market structure, and perspectives. Based on the most up to date information and figures, he led participants through comprehensive examples of freight estimations and transit times, which highlighted the logistical advantages of U.S. Soy and grains.
The AU team was escorted by USSEC consultants Pedro Lora, Fradbelin Escarraman, and Gerardo Luna, whose varied knowledge and expertise provided participants with a tailor-made experience, which allowed them to participate in discussions around key aspects of soybean meal, products, exports, technical, trade and marketing related issues.
The trip was a great success, and the team expressed their appreciation to USSEC and all the companies and firms visited.
USSEC recently conducted a soy demand-building event in Kandy, Sri Lanka as an extension of a two-day national event planned by the Sri Lankan government to educate audiences about protein. About 500 participants attended this event with a significant group including influencers from the government, scientists, and representatives from the animal feed and protein trade industry.
USSEC consultants in Sri Lanka and southern India, Dr. Athula Mahagamage and Dr. Yadunandan, led the conference. Dr. Mahagamage delivered a lecture on importance of protein and how Sri Lanka has been able to increase the production of chicken and eggs to meet growing demand. The session was also used to demystify perceptions about processes employed in chicken production, which was identified as a minor constraint that hampered chicken consumption in the country despite stable demand. During his lecture, Dr. Mahagamage shared data on the utilization of U.S soybean meal in the Sri Lankan poultry industry, emphasizing that the quality meat and positive economics seen in production economics are due to the superior quality and consistent supply of U.S soybean meal.
Drs. Mahagamage and Yadunandan also conducted a closed room discussion with the animal husbandry department, poultry farmers, and veterinary college faculties. Participants agreed on the importance of developing further strategies to increase chicken and egg production in Sri Lanka. Mr. Jayan, owner of Jaya farms, a leading poultry enterprise, pointed out that how U.S soybean meal has contributed to the development of Sri Lanka’s poultry industry.
Mithreepala Sirisena, president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, attended the event’s second day. The 304 participants included officials from various government departments, teachers, animal husbandry officials, poultry farmers, and feed millers. Dr. Mahagamage invited two external speakers, Dr. Gamini Jayakody, consultant physician to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health and Dr. Nimal Priyankarage, head of nutrition at the Veterinary Research Institute, to speak at the event and focus on nutrition and nutritional factors. Dr. Priyankarage spoke on high quality protein and how to differentiate complete and incomplete proteins. While speaking on amino acid composition in vegetable and animal proteins, he stressed that only soybeans offer an almost complete profile of amino acids.
USSEC recently organized a technical seminar in Bucharest, Romania to support the development of the consolidation of Romania’s swine industry.
USSEC consultants Dr. Hans Stein and Dr. Jan van Eys visited with key Romanian integrated companies on behalf of USSEC prior to the event. The consultants were invited for field visits that focused on the industrial Romanian swine sector, including integrated feed manufacturers and large size swine farms, owned by local and foreign investors from various countries. The objective of these field visits was to audit the industrial facilities and see where technical advice could be provided in order to improve operations, increase efficiency, and emphasize the advantages of working with U.S. Soy products.
Meeting with feed mill, quality control, and farm managers was instructive and appreciated by the representatives visited. Regular contact between USSEC and its customers enhances the message that needs to be communicated and reminds customers of the importance of quality differences among soy products in addition to what USSEC can mean for these customers – both from a commercial as well as a technical point of view.
The week concluded with the seminar in Bucharest, where more than 25 attendees valued the information conveyed by speakers in regards to soy quality, novel soy ingredients, and swine nutrition.
Currently, the pig production in Romania is in the process of consolidation and pig farmers have understood the need for having sustainable production based on investments in technology, genetics, nutrition, and integration. At this stage, the top swine integrations are controlled by U.S., Chinese, and Danish investors who understood the opportunities coming from the demand and supply ratio: Romania produces 55 percent of the pork meat it consumes.
Given the interest in the various topics discussed during USSEC’s visit to Romania and the need as well as potential for improvements in pig feed manufacturing and farm management, a regular follow-up activity is suggested. This is especially true when considering the opportunity this market offers for growth in livestock production in Romania and the use of value-added U.S. Soy products.
USSEC India recently organized a training program, which dealt with economical approaches to chicken production and creating trade linkages to South India’s broiler sector, in Ooty, Tamil Nadu Province. USSEC partnered with a leading soybean meal trader, Sri Amman Enterprises, to help achieve its objectives.
USSEC consultants Dr. Yadunandan and Dr. Pawan Kumar coordinated the sessions to bring together poultry integrators, feed millers, and the soy distribution system. About 110 midsized and small broiler integrators and feed millers participated in this training program. Together, this group represented 460,000 metric tons (MT) of soy use per year. Sri Amman Enterprises handles sales of 130,000 MT of soy annually and Sai Smaran Foods Pvt Ltd crushes 200,000 MT of soybeans per month. The audience at this event involved the entire value chain of soy, comprised of crushing, distribution, and soy utilization.
Dr. Yadunandan introduced USSEC and its activities and gave a presentation on the supply and demand of soybean meal in India and the Asia Subcontinent (ASC). India produced a good soybean crop in 2016 after three back-to-back years of poor production, but India’s supply is not enough to cater to the needs of the entire ASC region. Discussions stressed the need to proactively address raw material security for a growing poultry industry. Dr. Kumar expressed that chicken, eggs, and soy flour are the three cheapest sources of protein for Indians and stressed higher dependence and consumption of the same. On the technical front, the two consultants explained soybean meal inclusion levels in formulations and the bearing they have on the economical production of poultry meat and eggs. Other topics addressed included making appropriate buying decisions of soybean meal and interpreting analytical data.
The American Soybean Association (ASA) has communicated to the White House that the significant trade benefits U.S. farmers have achieved under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must be protected as the Trump administration moves forward with plans to renegotiate the agreement.
Please click here to read ASA’s news release.
When it comes to commercial aquaculture, a lot of people have some legitimate concerns – fish farms can introduce antibiotics, anti-algal chemicals, and concentrated fish waste into the ocean. Escaped fish can upset the local ecological balance, and wild fish still need to be caught in large numbers as a food source for some species of farmed fish. While there have been recent efforts to address the first two concerns, the fish-in-the-fish-food problem is now being taken on in two different research projects, which are aimed at replacing the fish content in fish feed with more sustainable ingredients. Scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have spent the past ten years developing a feed additive that does away with those fishy ingredients, a diet of microbes for prawns.
Traditionally, farmed prawns have been fed pellets that contain some fishmeal and fish oil. These are included mainly to help the animals grow large quickly. The additive contains marine microorganisms that have been bred in captivity, and which have been shown to play a crucial role in prawns’ growth process. In a large-scale field test, the product was mixed with an existing commercial feed (taking the place of the usual fish meal and oil), then used in ponds at an Australian prawn farm. According to CSIRO, the additive-consuming black tiger prawns grew an average of 30 percent faster than their regular-food-eating counterparts, plus they were healthier.
Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have developed an alternative feed that consists entirely of plant-based ingredients. Fishmeal and oil are commonly used in the pellets eaten by carnivorous fish such as sea bream and striped bass. Instead of fishmeal, the experimental new feed includes corn, wheat, and soy. Taking the place of fish oil is a combination of lipids (fatty acids) from algae, amino acid supplements, and soybean or canola oil. Not only have test fish apparently thrived on the feed, but their flesh reportedly also has polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and mercury levels that are a hundred times lower than those found in fish consuming regular pellets containing wild-caught fish. This would allow consumers to eat striped bass twice a week, as opposed to the once every two weeks currently recommended.
USSEC consultant Pablo Adreani, founder of AgriPAC Consultants in Argentina, will present the outlook for South American agriculture at the AgServe Agriculture Outlook Summit in St. Louis on March 9.
Mr. Adreani, also a consultant to the United Soybean Board (USB), understands the dynamics of South American agriculture on U.S. producers and agribusinesses.
Upon the Trump administration’s announcement of their intent to withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the American Soybean Association (ASA) issued a statement. Please click here to read ASA’s news release.
“USSEC and the U.S. Soy industry will continue to move forward on behalf of U.S. growers – building markets, relationships, and partnerships around the globe,” stated Roz Leeck, USSEC Marketing Director – Market Access / Freedom to Operate.
USSEC participated in the Pakistan Edible Oil Conference (PEOC) in Karachi, Pakistan on January 21.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter spoke to attendees on the topic “Soybeans: Sustainably Produced and Packed with Protein.”
In addition to talking about the sustainable manner in which U.S. soybeans are produced and explaining how sustainability is a new benchmark, Mr. Sutter also discussed growing protein consumption around the world and how to evaluate protein.
The presentation’s positive message focused on how consumers are demanding sustainably produced products, which U.S. Soy can deliver.
In 2015, Egypt’s aquaculture industry produced 1.3 million metric tons (MMT) of fish, consuming approximately 1 million tons of soybean meal. As the industry grows, the Egyptian economy faces new challenges.
In November 2016, the Egyptian pound, which was traditionally pegged to the U.S. dollar, was floated; that move has reduced the value of the pound by almost 50 percent, impacting the price of ingredients for the aqua industry and, consequently, the price of aqua feed.
To assist the Egyptian aqua industry, USSEC consultant Tim O’Keefe of Aqua-Food Technologies, traveled to Egypt to meet with top aquafeed producers to provide insights on least cost formulations as a means to control the soaring prices of feed.
USSEC Aquaculture Contractor – Egypt Salah Taher accompanied Mr. O’Keefe during his visit. The two met with representatives from Skretting, Aller Aqua, Cairo Poultry Group, and Koudjis Kapo.
Through these meetings, the team learned that the prices of fish have increased to meet the increasing cost production. The Egyptian aquaculture market is expected to continue growing at 8 to 10 percent each year as Egyptians continue to favor the consumption of fish over poultry and beef.
The Egyptian per capita consumption of fish in 2015 accounted for 21 kilograms (kg) per capita higher than the world average, which is approximately 19 kg per capita.
A second visit is scheduled in May 2017 to deliver training on least cost formulations for aqua feeds.
USSEC participated in the 11th China International Oils and Oilseeds Conference in south China’s Guangzhou City on November 9. American Soybean Association (ASA) director Sam Butler served as one of the panelists to discuss U.S. soybean production, soybean price trends, and the oils and oilseeds market.
The insights brought by domestic and international guest speakers attracted more than 1,000 participants to the event, including all of U.S. Soy’s key local customers and many of their downstream feed traders and dealers. The presentations delivered by U.S. soybean growers providing the latest soybean production information in the U.S. and elaborating on U.S. farmers’ marketing strategies were well received by the audience and the organizers. U.S. soybean growers presented the methods and techniques used in U.S. sustainable agriculture and reassured the Chinese audience, especially the end users, of the present and future reliability and sustainability of the U.S. soybean supply.
After the conference, Mr. Butler travelled to south China’s Guangxi province to visit two local customers, including Great Ocean Oils & Grains Industries (Fangchenggang) Co., Ltd., of Yihai Kerry Group and Huiyu Grains and Oils Industry Co., Ltd., of Jiusan Group (Huiyu Company) in Fangchenggang city. He discussed U.S. soybean production and quality in 2015 and 2016 with executives from the two local oil producers and stressed that amino acids are a better measure to evaluate the protein profile. Xiaoping Zhang, USSEC Country Director – China; Dr. Richard Han, USSEC Technical Director – Animal Utilization; and Yantian Zeng, USSEC Marketing Program Manager, escorted Mr. Butler on the two-day trip.
The China International Oils and Oilseeds Conference is an annual event jointly organized by Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) and Bursa Malaysia since 2006. The conference provides industry professionals with the latest oils and oilseeds information across a wide spectrum including production, processing and market outlook, among others. USSEC has sponsored this conference for more than 8 years.
Despite a budget reduction that took effect in 2017, Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has continued to support the development of offshore mariculture in Indonesia. In addition to rehabilitating 1,000 cages, the ministry, in cooperation with state-owned company Perindo Management, will build offshore marine cages operation in three different locations in Indonesia to promote the offshore mariculture system as well optimizing resources and improving seafood production, technology dissemination, and business diversifications (nursery), in addition to improving community income.
The locations selected for offshore mariculture farming are marine waters around Karimun Jawa in the Java Sea, marine waters around Cilacap and Pangandaran in the Indian Ocean, and Sabang Island in Aceh. The cages are expected to support the development of sea bass, pompano and cobia.
Each of the 6 cages, which are 50 meters in diameter, is expected to produce 500 metric tons (MT) per crop, thus targeting an additional 1500 MT in fish production from the three locations. Continued support from the government on mariculture development is in line with USSEC’s policy to support offshore mariculture. Mariculture production will increase the utilization of quality feed, including potential use of U.S. soybean meal in aquafeed.
USSEC recently participated in the 57th Japanese Vegetable Oil Industry New Year Event, kicking off 2017. Japan Oilseed Processors Association (JOPA), Japan Rice Bran Oil Industry Association, Japan Margarine Industry Association, Japan Oil & Fat Importers & Exporters Association, Japan Oil & Fat Wholesalers’ Association, and Japan Mayonnaise Manufacturers’ Association jointly organized this event. Nearly 500 particpants, ranging from oil manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, governments, and other relevant industries, attended this large event to pledge further progress of the Japanese vegetable oil industry together.
USSEC Country Director – Japan Mitsuyuki Nishimura, and Masako Tateishi, USSEC North Asia Regional Human Utilization Coordinator and HU Director – Japan represented the U.S. Soy industry.
During a congratulatory speech made by Takao Imamura, chairman of JOPA, and president and representative director of Nisshin Oillio Group, several important matters were noted as to what the Japanese vegetable oil industry needs to promptly prepare in order to respond to possible changes in external environments in 2017, including the next U.S. president’s plan to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a possible transition to direct discussion, an evaluation plan of mandatory country of origin labeling for all Japanese processed foods, and a plan for mandatory implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) for food safety in Japan. Mr. Imamura also stressed the importance of further growing vegetable oil and sustainability demands throughout the industry because a vital food source is necessary in order for all generations to maintain health and to adjust proper physical function.
During a conversation between JOPA, USSEC, and the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Tokyo team during the reception, the executive director of JOPA, Akira Saito, said, ”One of JOPA’s goals for 2017 is to restore soybean oil demands so that we are going to further consolidate our U.S. – Japan partnership. Let’s take a group photo to pledge such cooperation!!”
In 2015, Japan imported over 3.24 million metric tons (MT) of soybeans, of which U.S. enjoys a 72 percent market share. USSEC Japan will continue to work with the Japanese vegetable oil and soyfoods industries, both of which are essential ingredients for Japanese foods.
USSEC’s partnership activities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid off this year when Korea’s largest trade organization of food-grade soybean end-users announced they would require the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Protocol (SSAP) certificate. In its March 2016 tender announcement for 7,651 metric tons (MT) of U.S. non-GMO identity preserved soybeans, the Korea Federation of Tofu Cooperatives (KFTC) added the certificates to the list of documents suppliers must provide.
Wisconsin-headquartered DeLong Company, as well as Knewtson Soy Products in Minnesota, both USSEC members, are two of the 45 companies spanning 17 states that are pre-registered to use SSAP certificates.
DeLong’s Brandon Bickham, a USSEC director, says, “We are using the SSAP in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam as a marketing tool from our side and at our customers’ request in some instances.”
“The large customers seem to want everything that is available to them for advertising and food safety image,” says Wayne Knewtson, president of Knewtson Soy Products.
Launched in 2013, the SSAP allows U.S. exporters to efficiently and cost-effectively communicate the sustainability of U.S. Soy to buyers worldwide. In January 2016, soy exports certified through the SSAP hit a record two million metric tons in the 2015/16 marketing year. The SSAP provides U.S. Soy exporters with proof of, among other sustainability-related criteria, reductions in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil erosion of soybeans produced in the United States.
USSEC’s Market Access Program (MAP) – funded efforts include bringing a team of Korean soybean crushing and feed mill buyers to the United States to learn about the superior quality of U.S. soybeans as well as their sustainability. With USDA Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds, USSEC staff also conducts seminars and other trade servicing activities in North Asia and other locations where they highlight the sustainability of U.S. Soy.
USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) are helping U.S. agriculture to be the store where international customers want to shop. U.S. high-value food grade soybean marketers liken international buyers to U.S. customers who go to a store because it offers a preferred or unique product. If the customer learns to love that store, then they will become loyal and shop for even more products.
With USDA and USSEC assistance, companies such as SK Food International and Natural Products Inc., both USSEC members, are doing their part to cultivate this preference for U.S. specialty soybeans. U.S. Soy competitors also pursue the Asia and Pacific region’s soy food market that according to Technavio’s Global Soy Food Market 2016-2020 analysis was valued at $17 billion in 2015. Technavio projects the Asia and Pacific regional market will reach $24 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent. The need for soy protein ingredients to fuel that region’s soy foods sector will grow at an even faster pace — reaching an estimated 10 percent CAGR.
To capture this business, USSEC works with Foreign Market Development (FMD) -supported trade services to constantly monitor the markets and policies.
“USSEC is doing a good job of helping us make the necessary changes to meet the customer,” says Natural Products General Manager Paul Lang. “The way grain moves into Korea is a government-controlled process. If someone wants to do business in Korea, then they have to stay in tune with their government. FAS and USSEC are on the ground. We expect them to know the current situation of the law, the standards and what changes.”
USDA FMD-funded activities allowed SK and other U.S. specialty soybean exporters to meet overseas food manufacturers.
“The biggest benefit from our USSEC relationship is creating new leads and the connection to new buyers,” says SK Marketing Coordinator Tara Froemming.
“It is good to have the USSEC support of these missions,” she concludes.
Last August, USSEC and Cargill teamed up to conduct a seminar that introduced intensive pond aquaculture (IPA) technology to Cargill farm customers in Hưng Yên, a province of Vietnam. Based on the knowledge they gained from the seminar and with the support of Nguyen Huu Tho, Cargill technical manager, farmers started to construct IPA systems on their own land with equipment available locally.
Nguyễn Thị Thắm is among the first IPA adopters in northern Vietnam. She learned the IPA concept at the August seminar and constructed an IPA fixed floor raceway. She has a 3 ha farm, managed by her son, Vũ Duy Hào. At the same time, she ran a hub to collect fish from other farms to supply the market. After stocking tilapia for one month, she was very satisfied with the high survival rate compared to the same source of fingerlings stock to the traditional pond. She already plans to construct more raceways without waiting for the first IPA trial to finish.
There are currently six IPA sites in northern Vietnam: Mr. Phú in Bắc Giang, Mr. Trung in Bắc Ninh, Mr. Lừng in Hà Tây, Mr. Thao in Hà Tây, Mr. Hải in Hà Tây and Mr. Sơn in Thanh Hóa.
In November, USSEC Aquaculture Technical Director – Southeast Asia Lukas Manomaitis and USSEC Aquaculture Technical Manager – Vietnam Võ Hoàng Nguyên paid a visit to the IPA sites in Hưng Yên, Bắc Ninh and Thanh Hóa. They decided to conduct more visits to each IPA site and to organize training for farmers who are constructing and running IPAs by themselves in order to help them do it properly.