Middle East / North Africa
The MENA region is home to 380 million people or 6 percent of the global population. The regional GDP is 4.5 percent of the world’s GDP with wide geographic swings. The countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Israel import over 150,000 metric tons of U.S. Soy and the region represents 4 percent of total U.S. Soy exports.
Egypt is the most important market for the U.S. Soy industry in the region as it approaches 1 million tons of imported U.S. Soy. The Egyptian crush industry continues to show strong growth with several local crush plants expanding and in some cases doubling their production. The Egyptian poultry industry remains strong along with the aquaculture industry, which now produces over 1 MMT annually with tilapia as the primary species. Soy extrusion and full-fat soymeal production is increasing throughout the region and Saudi Arabia’s poultry and dairy industry is very strong.
The North Africa countries of Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria were the fastest growing feed industry in the world by percentage last year despite ongoing challenges in the region.
USSEC and the U.S. Soy industry have faced some operational interruptions in this region due to ongoing conflicts in several countries. The region also faces some challenges with poultry disease issues, specifically in Egypt and Tunisia. Yet investments in animal agriculture and infrastructure are ongoing with significant investments in soy crushing/extrusion, soy oil refining and port infrastructure in Egypt and other countries. Investments in poultry, dairy, aquaculture and feed production are also occurring throughout the region even as government/social transitions continue. Regional markets for soybeans, soy oil and soybean meal are all considered as growing by USSEC.
Middle East / North Africa Directory
Middle East / North Africa News
A diversified team of Moroccan delegates representing the feed, poultry, dairy, and oil industries attended the 5th U.S. Soy Regional Trade Exchange –European Union (EU) / Middle East – North African (MENA) held in Lisbon, Portugal from February 8 -10.
Representatives from the leading poultry integrators, the largest feed mill, a dairy cooperative, and a vegetable oil refiner had the opportunity to meet other professional buyers from the greater region, along with traders and U.S. suppliers. This year’s edition of the trade exchange welcomed a number of attendees from several markets with great success, partially attributed to the high level and quality of all participants including customers, experts, USSEC and grower leaders’ representatives, that help to protect U.S. Soy’s market share in Morocco.
The Moroccan team’s participation in USSEC events reflects the importance of the U.S. as a major supplier of high quality soybeans and soy products. USSEC teams, consultants, and staff assisted professionals to learn more about the organization, the U.S. Soy value chain, and its world position.
The main factors impacting demand for U.S. Soy as a key ingredient in animal feed were among the issues discussed during interactions between suppliers and buyers.
Morocco has been able to maintain its place in the top ten U.S. Soy export markets for soybean meal and soy oil and remains the leading consumer of U.S. Soy products in the MENA region with a soybean meal market estimated at over 600,000 tons. Its imports include U.S. soybean meal, hulls, oil, and beans adding up to a total bean equivalent of nearly 600,000 tons per year.
Poultry remains the main market driver with about 19 kilograms (kg) of poultry meat consumed per capita and an average annual growth of 5 to 7 percent through modern structured emerging integrations.
USSEC continues to support animal industries in Morocco through targeted programs strengthening the U.S. as a major supplier of high-quality soybeans and products, highlighting the strength and intrinsic advantages of the whole soybean value chain. All team members had a higher understanding of soybean meal differentiation based on origin.
USSEC hosted a team of delegates from Morocco’s feed, egg and poultry industries at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia from January 31 – February 2. The show, considered to be in the top 50 of all U.S. trade shows, is a world meeting forum for suppliers, producers, and processors displaying the latest equipment and services representing the entire chain of protein production and processing, creating a meeting platform for international soy buyers and U.S. suppliers. This year’s conference welcomed a record number of attendees with over 31,000 from more than 130 countries. Key decision makers from poultry operations, integrated companies, feed mills, associations, and allied industry professionals share ideas, network, and conduct business.
At the luncheon hosted by USSEC, attendees learned how to differentiate soybean meal by origin and the advantages of U.S. soybean meal through the presentation of Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, professor of Animal Science at the University of Madrid, titled “Have You Checked You Soybean’s Pedigree Lately? Evaluating the Nutritive Value of Soybean Meal in Poultry Diets.”
USSEC consultant – North Africa Benabdeljelil K. accompanied customers and guided them through various activities conducted by USSEC and IPPE. At the USSEC booth, they learned more about the organization and U.S. Soy products through discussions with grower leaders, including United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz, American Soybean Board (ASA) director Brian Ogletree, and Rusty Smith, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. USSEC team members and several consultants from other markets discussed several issues related to soybean use with customers.
The main factors impacting demand for U.S. Soy as a key ingredient in animal feed, successful tactics to differentiate and create a preference for U.S. Soy, specific promotion materials, common communication messages adapted to regional needs were the issues discussed during the animal utilization meeting held by USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, aiming to develop successful and focused actions helped by collective expertise and resources.
The one-on-one interactions during the three-day event improved confidence and trust levels with the U.S Soy industry and USSEC’s worldwide operations.
USSEC worked closely with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to arrange a visit to a fish farm in Egypt for members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies on February 22.
The visit included the following members from the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies: Rachel Santos, professional staff; Carlisle Clarke, majority clerk; Patrick Carroll, professional staff; and Jessica Schulken, minority clerk.
The visit also included members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) / FAS: Chris Church, Director, Legislative Affairs; Ronald Verdonk, Minister-Counselor; and Dr. Ahmed Wally, Agricultural Specialist.
Essam el Barabary, a prominent member of the Egyptian aquaculture industry, hosted the visitors at his farm in Burg el Arab outside of Alexandria.
Hussain Mansour, chief executive of Aller Aqua Egypt, an Egyptian-Danish partnership company, also attended the tour. Aller Aqua is among the top aqua feed producers in Egypt with a production capacity up to 150,000 metric tons of extruded feed, making the company the largest feed producer in Egypt.
During the visit, Mr. Essam explained the production strategy for the farm and the advantage of having good water quality. He explained that water quality at the farm has enabled him to produce a variety of fish species including tilapia, mullet, sea bass, and European eel. Mr. Essam said that the feed for the farm is supplied predominantly from Aller Aqua.
Mr. Hussain explained that Egypt ranks eighth in terms of world aquaculture production, second in the production of tilapia, and first in mullet production. He also stressed the importance of using high quality raw material in feed production and that his preference to use U.S. soybean meal is for its digestibility and consistent quality. He stated that the quality attributes of U.S. soybean meal are clearly visible upon physical evaluation of the product.
During the discussion, Mr. Hussain pointed out that digestibility of U.S. soybean meal, measured by protein solubility (KOH) was clearly demonstrated during a feed trial that was conducted during 2013, which was sponsored by USSEC and implemented at WorldFish. At that time, Aller Aqua produced the feed according to the parameters and formulation provided by USSEC, primarily the use of U.S soybean meal in the diet. Mr. Hussain went on to explain that the growth rate achieved during the trial is due to the highly digestible protein content of U.S. soybeans.
USSEC Country Representative – Egypt Salah Taher, who organized the visit together with USDA/FAS, explained to the committee members that building a preference for U.S. Soy in the Egyptian aquaculture industry is a continuous effort that the USSEC team has been promoting through close cooperation with the aqua industry. Seminars, feed trials, and one-on-one technical visits are among the tools used by USSEC to demonstrate the advantage of using U.S. Soy.
Mr. Salah went on to explain the scale of the Egyptian aquaculture, an industry that produces 1.2 million metric tons (MMT) of fish annually and is the primary source of protein for 90 million Egyptians. Per capita consumption of fish is currently 21 kilograms (kg) higher than the per capita world average, which is approximately 19 kg.
Mr. Essam also hosted a luncheon, which was served in a traditional Egyptian tent. During lunch, Mr. Essam and his colleagues presented a number of general topics, including the importance of developing a cold chain and cold storage to overcome the price fluctuation that results from seasonality of supply.
Discussions focused on the quality, consistency and sustainability of U.S. Soy during the 5th U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange for Europe – Middle East/North Africa (EU/MENA) during the recent conference in Lisbon, Portugal. More than 180 customers and 15 USSEC members from 32 countries gathered to discuss the global soy market situation and expectations for the feed and food industry for Europe and the Middle East. USSEC’s two-day conference is one of the few events combining the soy industry throughout those regions and leading soy crushers, feed companies, and poultry and livestock producers were in attendance.
Conference presenters highlighted the importance of the Europe and Middle East market with data showing that EU-28 and Russia represented the top three countries in poultry and pork production growth since 2010, behind only the U.S. Additionally, 13 of the top 30 global feed-producing countries are in Europe and MENA and were represented at the USSEC conference. With one-third of the global gross domestic product (GDP), this region continues to increase its soy consumption and remains highly competitive in poultry and pork production.
USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Todd Gibson, American Soybean Association (ASA) director Bill Wykes, and USB director Andy Fabin highlighted the sustainability of U.S. Soy in their presentations. Each emphasized the sustainability practices of his farm and his production expectations for the upcoming growing season.
Regional customers noted their appreciation in hearing about soy production straight from the producers. USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb stressed the importance of the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and the positive environmental indicators of U.S. Soy production. Nick Major, representing FEFAC, the European Feed Association, discussed the importance of sustainability to consumers and retailers in the Europe market. The SSAP meets the benchmark of FEFAC’s soy sourcing guidelines and is a welcome source of sustainable soy supply for the European market. The EU is one of the major users of the SSAP certification system, which now totals over 6.7 million tons in export shipments this marketing year, over 10 percent of U.S. Soy exports.
USSEC recently hosted a seminar in Egypt to introduce the principles of quality analysis in soybeans to the country’s aquafeed industry. A total of 60 participants attended the event, representing the top aquaculture feed mill and aqua produces.
Ronald Verdonk, Minster-Counselor, Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Cairo inaugurated the seminar. In his opening speech, Mr. Verdonk stressed the importance of the agriculture and trade relationships between Egypt and the United States and the role that FAS plays in promoting U.S agriculture exports. He also applauded the developments that the Egyptian aquaculture industry has witnessed in the last decade, citing the rapid and continuous development of the sector.
USSEC consultant Dr. Jan van Eys, the keynote speaker at the event, commented, “It is a delight to come back to Egypt and see the progress being made in aqua production and the feed industry in general. Many challenges remain but there is a clear and discernable progress in the understanding of the key areas that contribute to efficient aqua and livestock production. This is very clear where it concerns the feed industry and the utilization of ingredients such as soy products. Control of ingredient quality and formulation have clearly become key components of improved feed production and thus of the livestock productivity of as a whole and aqua production in particular. USSEC has greatly contributed to this positive development and logically sees its efforts rewarded in a continuous increase in the use of U.S.-originated soy products.”
During the seminar, Professor Mohamed Fathy Osman delivered a presentation on fish nutrition and highlighted the difference between crude protein, digestible protein, and amino acid profile when formulating a least-cost diet. Professor Fathy also stressed the importance of cooking raw materials and extrusion technology as a method of improving digestibility and feed efficacy.
Guest speaker Dr. Alaa Badr, product manager at Skretting Nutreco, concluded the seminar by delivering a presentation on the importance of quality control in feed production. He stressed the impact of high quality raw material in the manufacturing process to guarantee high quality feed.
Dr. Badr also highlighted the importance of traceability of ingredients as well as the final product. Quality standards for different raw materials and the importance of controlling the inflow of raw material by using near infrared (NIR) as a method for accurate formulation and controlling the quality of received raw materials and final product, while minimizing the risk of mycotoxins by using rapid analysis method when receiving raw materials. This is a standard procedure conducted before manufacturing to protect the quality of the final product.
In the days following the seminar, the USSEC team conducted three one-on-one industry visits with aquafeed mills to provide the necessary support for the adoption of soy quality parameters in feed manufacturing.