News: Middle East / North Africa
In Tunisia, feed formulation is mainly based on imported maize and soybeans, with a low inclusion level of other ingredients and byproducts such as wheat bran, barley, dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGs), and vegetable oils, among others. Optimization of feed formulation and quality control is crucial in the Tunisian feed industry because it is a highly competitive market with low profit margins.
Near infra red spectro-photometry (NIRS) technology is now routinely used for the evaluation of raw materials and the control of compound feed quality in Tunisia’s major feed companies. In this context, and in order to increase local awareness of U.S. Soy’s sustainable high quality, to improve the understanding of the value of soybean meals of different origins, and educating the local industries to appreciate valuable raw material, USSEC held a Near Infrared Spectroscopy Workshop on September 8 in Tunis, Tunisia. Sixteen participants, including laboratory technicians and nutritionists using NIRS technology representing major feed companies and reference laboratories, attended this event.
This event was hosted by GIPAC, the National Poultry Association, in their Tunis headquarters. The GIPAC institution has always enjoyed a fruitful partnership with USSEC. Dr. Denis Bastianelli, an expert in NIRS technology from CIRAD Research Institute, France, conducted the workshop. He gave three presentations: an introduction on NIRS technology; the use of NIRS technology in animal nutrition; and NIRS techniques used in the laboratory and online NIRS equipment.
He pointed out that Tunisian company laboratories generally use a generic calibration provided by their equipment (spectrometers) suppliers, without having a complete control on the reliability of the results used. NIRS could also most likely be used in a wider range of applications. The training aimed to present NIRS technique, its potential, its limitations, and the conditions of its implementation in the industry. A very productive discussion also took place amongst participants.
On September 9, Dr. Riadh Karma, USSEC Technical and Commercial Consultant for Tunisia, escorted Dr. Bastianelli on a field visit of two major new feed mills located in Jebel Oust; both of the feed mills are using NIRS technology equipment.
The first visit was to Nutrimix SNA’s (Poulina Group Holding) new feed mill, which is a top level mill equipped to produce 400 metric tons (MT) per day per plant. At this plant, a new extrusion facility of 24 MT per hour is being constructed, in addition to a 30,000 MT soybean storage facility.
The second visit was to a small plant called ALFA / Medimix Nord with a smaller capacity of 10 MT per hour.
During the plant and laboratory visits, Dr. Bastianelli and Dr. Karma actively participated with their customers in very interesting discussions on the benefits of this technology to improve ingredients and compound feed quality control, especially in matters of the use of soybean meal.
A team of ten major traders from the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region visited Washington D.C. on August 29, prior to the 2016 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange.
The series of industry visits was arranged by USSEC in cooperation with the American Soybean Association (ASA) and the United Soybean Board (USB).
The group first met with Mark Smith, International Marketing Specialist at the Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS), before meeting with Mark Miller, International Programs Office Director, of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Mr. Miller first provided a background and overview of NASS operations, which provide timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture, before discussing U.S. data collection methods, prospective plantings, yield forecasting process, and stocks analysis.
The delegation next spoke with Justin Choe, Oilseeds Analyst at the Office of Global Analysis (OGA). Mr. Choe provided a background on FAS global agriculture analysis, went over global supply and demand reports, and discussed global collection methods and supply/demand reporting and analysis system, in addition to providing market intelligence, forecasting and analysis. He also spoke about how data is processed, analyzed, forecast, and shared.
Maria Rakhovskaya, International Marketing Specialist at FAS, talked about the primary roles of FAS, the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs (OASA) and the Plant Division before George Galasso, National Trade Director, Grains Programs, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) spoke to them.
USDA Grain Marketing Specialist Jennifer Weiland spoke on behalf of the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GPISA) about the ragweed and ambrosia import issue in Egypt.
Jonathan Doster, Branch Chief of FAS’s Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) spoke to the MENA team about how the program works. The GSM-102 provides credit guarantees that can encourage financing to importers and promotes the exports of U.S. soybeans and soybean products.
Several of the MENA importers provided feedback, saying that the meetings gave them additional insight into making more informed business decisions.
“For a long time, we follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports and we time our calendar for buying and hedging with these reports. Visiting the USDA in Washington was very beneficial to the MENA team. It gave the team a closer look of how the reports are prepared. The speakers explained the confidentiality of the information before issuing the report. Also, they explained the big effort in issuing the reports and the accuracy of them. Mr. Justin Choe explained how the USDA analyzes the data they receive domestically and globally. It is amazing to see that so many people are involved in getting the reports on time and so much work is done to make it as accurate as possible. Overall, our visit to Washington was successful and very much educational to all the team members.”
– Ammar Bardan
“I would like to extend to you my utmost thanks for inviting me to the Global Trade Exchange in Indianapolis. Further, I would like to thank you even more for the meeting at the USDA. The opportunity to sit face-to-face with the people who greatly affect my business decisions 12 times a year has proven enlightening. Though I didn’t see eye-to-eye with them, it still gave me a closer idea as to how they formulate their numbers, and having known that, I can plan future business decisions accordingly. Thank you again, and I hope that you present me with this opportunity again when possible.”
– Shehab Ghoniem
“First, I would like to thank you so much for the opportunity you opened for our company to meet the USDA team in Washington (FGIS/APHIS teams). The negotiation we had gave us the opportunity to better understand the problem with the Egyptian government regarding the ambrosia. We had a better understanding of the U.S. point of view, and it was a good chance to show our point of view! We hope to continue those fruitful meetings and keep channels opened that will positively help us solving such issues!”
– Amir Wasef
“The USDA meeting was very well organized and well structured. It exceeded our expectations concerning the in depth discussion on the following topics, which shows the high interest of the USDA for Egypt and the Middle East region.
“The programs offered from the USDA will give the importers and traders a great opportunity to expand their business, especially the GSM program.
The quality assurance procedures presented during the meeting shows how much the USDA is taking all necessary measures to ensure that the exported commodities from the U.S. region pass through several levels of sampling and checking to avoid any below standards quality passing.
The presentation of the procedures taken from the USDA to prepare the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report (WASDE) grains and oilseeds crop reports.
The challenges that face imports of U.S. products to Egypt, e.g. the ambrosia and ragweed restrictions and discussions around how the USDA is interacting with CMPQ in Egypt.”
– Ahmed Nabil
While the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange formed the core of the visit of some 78 customers from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, their trip to the U.S. was extended by several days so that they could acquaint themselves with the U.S. grain marketing and shipping system. The group, accompanied by grower leaders and USSEC staff, traveled to Louisiana and met with Blue Water Shipping Group, who provided the customers with an overview of U.S. corn and soybean production, moving the commodities from inland locations down the Mississippi River and its tributaries to export terminals in New Orleans, and/or transportation by rail and/or road to the Pacific Northwest or East Coast export facilities.
This presentation and discussions focusing on the U.S. grain shipping system, proven to be the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective, set the stage for USSEC’s international partners to tour the grain export terminals located on the Mississippi River in Louisiana by boat. The excellent weather allowed the group to travel in two motor boats to see the barges coming down the Mississippi River, a few grain export terminals unloading the barges, foreign cargo vessels being loaded with various commodities produced in the U.S., and these vessels setting off for overseas export markets.
This additional time spent in the U.S. was valuable for the EU/MENA buyers, because it supplemented theoretical knowledge gathered at the 2016 U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange and relationships established at the accompanying trade show with some practical experience.
Visiting the city of New Orleans was also a very special social and cultural experience for USSEC’s partners operating in EU/MENA region.
The Northeast European participants were extremely happy with the Louisiana portion of the team travel project and Wojciech Zarzycki, Chief Purchasing Officer of DeHeus (second largest feed compounder in Poland), concluded that the study tour of grain export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico was a very important professional experience to him, which he especially enjoyed doing by boat.
USSEC organized one-on-one extrusion training at MEDIMIX and SNA, the two largest feed companies in Tunisia, on August 17 and 18. These companies are Tunisia’s two largest poultry integrators and have been using full fat soybean meal (FFSBM) for about four years.
USSEC consultant, Dr. Mian Riaz, Director- Food Protein Research & Development Center at Texas A & M University, visited the two extrusion units at MEDIMIX and SNA and trained the nutritionist, engineers and technicians of both companies, giving advanced presentations on soybean extrusion, as well as on animal waste extrusion. In addition to technical aspects, training emphasized the high value of U.S. Soy and its sustained amino acid profile. A field visit allowed Dr. Riaz to give the staff advice on process and maintenance. Discussions on new uses in animal waste extrusion, extruded pet food, and fish feed using soybean meal interested the both companies’ staff for current and future potential new investments.
Mohamed Chikhaoui, the general manager of Poulina Group Holding’s (PGH) four SNA feed mills, announced the start of the construction of a new extrusion unit (24 one ton per hour extruders) and a 30,000 metric ton (MT) bean storage facility during his meeting with Dr. Riaz and Riadh Karma, USSEC Technical and Commercial Consultant – Tunisia.
These two working days, one at each company, helped increased the awareness of quality of U.S. Soy, improved the understanding of the value of U.S. soybean meal compared to other origins, and educated the main local companies on how they could improve their extrusion process.
USSEC recently provided technical services for full fat soybean meal in Egypt and Jordan.
Dr. Mian Riaz, director of the Food Protein Research & Development Center and head of the Extrusion Technology Program for the nutrition and food science department at Texas A&M University, visited Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan from August 13 – 15.
In Jordan, Dr. Riaz visited Atrab International Trading Co. and Al Jazeera Poultry Company to discuss full fat soy and its quality. Al Jazeera is in the process of building a new feed mill and wanted to know about soybean processing and whether it should be made separate or part of the feed mill.
In Egypt, Dr. Riaz visited Wadi Holding Co. and inspected their original feed mill. Currently, the company has three extruders making full fat soybean meal and is planning to install a new extruder at its extraction plant facility at a different location. Dr. Riaz gave a presentation on the mechanical processing of soybeans, as the company is interested in building a new plant in Ethiopia for soybean processing. He showed a video about full fat soybean processing and quality and discussed in detail their drawing and new site for full fast soybean production. Dr. Riaz also discussed the opportunity to make texturized soy protein for meat application. Wadi is planning to start businesses devoted to pet food, aquafeed and shrimp feed.
Next, Dr. Riaz visited Pyramid Poultry in Sadat City. This feed mill is in the process of installing 36 new extruders with presses to produce mechanically expelled soybean meal for poultry. Currently, they are building their factory, and then they will start making full fat and express meal. Pyramid has already bought all the extruders and presses needed for their operation. They are currently making full fat soybean meal with one Turkish extruder for their poultry feed. Dr. Riaz provided their staff with information about the quality of soybean meal, processing, and extrusion parameters. He also showed video on the production of full fat and express meal. The company is interested in refining soybean oil from their mechanically expelled operation and has already purchased the refining equipment, which they will install after the completion of their facility.
Dr. Riaz visited the Egyptian Poultry Association and gave an extrusion seminar for making feed, which was very well attended by representatives from the poultry industry.
Finally, Dr. Riaz visited Cairo Poultry feed operation. At this time, the company is using Chinese extruders to make full fat soy and they recently installed an expander for full fat soybean production. Dr. Riaz gave a presentation on full fat soybean processing and its quality parameters and explained the principles of operation of dry and wet extruders as well as expanders. More than 15 staff from the Cairo feed mill attended Dr. Riaz’s seminar.
USSEC recently organized the first meetings on aquafeed in Morocco. These one-on-one visits with operation managers focused on the use of U.S. soybean protein concentrates (SPC), soybean meal, and lecithin in aquafeeds.
USSEC consultant and aquafeed expert Tim O’Keefe presented the benefits of sound aquaculture based on sustainable feed resources, highlighting the importance of U.S. soy protein concentrate in different fish species’ diets. The nutritive value of U.S. Soy products and their advantages in feed formulation for different species were highlighted, confirming that soybean products offer the amino acids and digestible energy needed.
Several aquaculture development projects supervised by the National Agency for Aquaculture Development (French acronym ANDA) will contribute to improve resources’ sustainability; promote aqua farming, processing, and marketing; upgrade value chain components; and improve competitiveness and overall performance. The need to produce good quality aquafeed based on soy products as fish resources decrease was emphasized.
A total production of 200,000 metric tons of aqua products in Morocco is projected for 2020, contributing to sustainable economic growth and increasing its contribution to local gross domestic product (GDP). The minimum amount of soybean meal in aqua feed is projected to be an addition 40,000 metric tons (MT) by 2020, and about 60,000 to 80,000 MT, when SPC is readily available.
- Visiting Happy Fish company
- Workshop at ANDA
With the support of FAS’s Cairo office, USSEC has worked with poultry producers in the Middle East region for several years, focusing on the economic benefits of using high quality U.S. soybean products. Soybean meal is becoming the major source of high-quality protein used in poultry feed, replacing protein sources from animal origins. Using U.S. soybean meal, poultry producers are promoting their processed chicken as raised on a vegetarian diet, which they sell at a premium price in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Many Middle Eastern consumers seek out poultry products produced using vegetarian diets for a variety of cultural and health-based reasons. In the Middle East region, soybeans have a strong reputation as a healthy product driving consumer preference for chicken raised on vegetarian meal rather than animal-based proteins. USSEC has been working closely with crushers in the region to help them with dehulling; improving the quality of both soybean meal and soybean oil; improving their ability to manage risk; and marketing their products in the region. Crushing plants in Egypt are mainly importing U.S. soybeans (55 percent U.S. market share in 2014/15). They then export their products of soybean meal and soybean oil to the neighboring countries in the region. Crushers prefer U.S. soybeans due to consistent quality and availability. Their customers also prefer the quality of soybean meal and soybean oil produced from U.S. soybeans.
USSEC held dairy nutrition seminars in cooperation with West Central (Wilmar, MN), Ag Processing, Inc, AGP (Omaha, NE), and Fornazor International (Hillsdale, NJ), covering the ins and outs of container logistics for bypass soybean meal AminoPlus®, a value-added product, from the U.S. to the Middle East. Many dairy farms in the Middle East have started to import AminoPlus® and SoyPlus® from AGP and West Central in containers. AminoPlus® is produced by AG Processing Inc., exported by Fornazor, and distributed by a Saudi company Nutriplus Commodities. Fornazor exports 40,000 metric tons (MT) of AminoPlus® from Houston to Saudi Arabia, equal to about 60 percent of AGP’s total exports of Amino Plus®.
USSEC, in close partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), organized several events within the Maghreb region of North Africa to reemphasize the image of the U.S. as a major supplier of high-quality soybeans and soybean products. U.S. soybean products have traditionally enjoyed a dominant market share with a 100 percent share for soybean meal strengthened by the U.S. – Morocco Free Trade Agreement. However, reduced import duties on South America soybean meal in 2013 impacted U.S. market share. USSEC has had a program in Morocco for more than 20 years, working closely with the livestock sector, particularly the poultry and feed industries, and providing numerous teams with training and technical assistance. USSEC continues to promote the intrinsic advantages of U.S. soybean products to differentiate U.S. soybeans and build customer preference. Objectives of the programs developed by USSEC and with FAS support include increasing the use of U.S. soybean meal in poultry feed, addressing customers’ issues and needs, and competing with other unsustainable protein sources supplying end users with a reliable, trusted, constant quality source of highly available nutrients. Poultry roundtables for the Maghreb region’s feed industry, held over the last three years, as well as trade servicing, have successfully gathered leading poultry and feed customers from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, reflecting the importance of the three markets to U.S. commercial interests. Morocco, the largest buyer of U.S. soybean products in the Maghreb region, also remains among the top 10 export markets for U.S. soybean oil. Morocco remains one of the leading soybean meal users in North Africa and the Middle East with an estimated 600,000 ton market and the U.S. market share for soybeans in 2014/2015 has reached 73 percent.
USSEC organized a near infrared (NIR) one-on-one workshop for leading feed industry companies in Morocco in May.
USSEC consultant Denis Bastianelli, head of CIRAD France’s feed department, provided assistance to Morocco’s leading feed mills and integrations.
The main objectives of the one-on-one workshop were to improve further analytical knowledge of soybean meal composition and the nutritive value to the poultry and ruminant industries.
This activity aims to help differentiate U.S. soybean meal and improve its utilization through better characterization with the ultimate goal of increasing U.S. Soy’s share in the Morocco market, which imports U.S. soybeans, soy hulls, soybean oil and meal. Poultry remains the primary driver of Morocco’s soybean meal market.
Participants discussed technical issues during laboratory visits and showed high interest in U.S. Soy products and the efforts to take full advantage of their nutritional quality, including availability of essential amino acids and metabolizable energy.
USSEC continues to sustain demand for U.S. Soy and develop the loyalty of leading customers in Morocco.
USSEC hosted a poultry feed milling team from the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region at Kansas State University from May 23 – 27. The International Grains Program (IGP) at Kansas State conducted a short course in Poultry Feed Manufacturing, from May 22 – 27.
During that week, twelve visitors from Egypt, three from Tunisia, and one from Morocco had the opportunity to see the latest technologies applied to poultry feed manufacturing, including problem prevention and problem management in commercial feed mills. The correct processing of feed and detailed pelleting manufacturing was a main topic discussed by IGP-KSU professors during the first two days of the course. USSEC consultant Carlos Campabadal was the course coordinator.
The supply and demand of U.S. Soy and U.S. soybean meal and the differences in nutritional quality of soybeans from different origins were also covered. USSEC consultant Miguel Escobar discussed these two topics at length with the participants, who demonstrated great interest with positive comments and questions derived from the presentations. At the end of the week, the group had the opportunity to visit KSU’s feed mill, a commercial feed mill, and a soybean farm.
USSEC organized a technical training program for veterinarians from Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Gainesville, Florida from May 16-20.
Eighteen veterinarians from commercial poultry companies participated in a weeklong intensive training course on commercial poultry health and management. The objective of the program is to provide practical and technical updates for these commercial poultry industry veterinarians. USSEC consultant Dr. Gary Butcher, a professor at the University of Florida, conducted the program. Topics are varied and include updates on important diseases in the Middle East and North Africa such as avian influenza, Newcastle Genotype 7, and Mycoplasma infections, among others.
USSEC organized a “Full Fat One-on-One Workshop” as a follow-up to the second poultry roundtable for Maghreb’s feed industry. The workshop was held in May in Casablanca.
USSEC consultant and director of Texas A & M University’s Food Protein R&D Center Mian Riaz provided technical assistance to Alf Sahel, Morocco’s largest feed mill, and Copag, the country’s largest dairy cooperative.
The main objectives of the one-on-one workshop were to further assist with technical aspects of extrusion projects in both the poultry and dairy industries. USSEC’s assistance to key customers improves decision makers’ technical knowledge, leading to better utilization of U.S. soybeans.
The production of full fat soybeans is seen as a means of product diversification to increase U.S. Soy’s share in the Morocco market, which already imports U.S. soybeans, soy hulls, soybean oil and meal.
The animal production and poultry sectors have been the primary drivers of Morocco’s soybean market and would further benefit from full fat production.
The issues discussed not only showed high interest in the quality of U.S. Soy products, and but also the trust and confidence of the USSEC organization.
USSEC’s efforts will continue to sustain demand for U.S. Soy and develop the loyalty of leading customers.
USSEC conducted the third Poultry Roundtable for Maghreb’s feed industry on March 8 and 9 in Casablanca, Morocco.
The conference, part of USSEC’s FY16 promotion program in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region, provided an excellent platform to discuss current issues in poultry feeding in Maghreb. Thirty key customers from the feed and poultry industry attended the conference: 9 from Tunisia, 4 from Algeria and 17 from Morocco.
USSEC Regional Director – MENA Brent Babb emphasized the importance of the Maghreb markets within MENA and globally and presented the advantages of U.S. Soy. Morocco and Tunisia are the largest buyers of U.S. Soy products in Maghreb. These two partners are among the leading export destinations for U.S. Soy products. Maghreb is an important user of soybean meal with Morocco and Tunisia consuming over one million tons of soybean meal annually and Algeria about 1.4 million tons.
American Soybean Association (ASA) director Dean Coleman presented a farmer’s perspective of U.S. Soy production and provided customers with information on farming soybeans. Sarah Hanson, Agricultural Attaché for Morocco and Tunisia based at Rabat, welcomed attendees, highlighting soy as the leading U.S. agricultural value product in Maghreb and thanked customers for their business.
The presentations of visiting experts such as the president of the European branch of the World Poultry Association and University of Norway professor Birger Svihus focused on recent advances in improvements of feed quality; alternatives to antibiotics utilization in poultry feed were discussed by Mario Jimenez Garcia, CEO of 3F Feed & Food Company Spain; and Niels Hansen-Love, vice president of INTL FCStone Ltd covered the global supply and demand for soy, along with market trends and tools to hedge prices.
The program aimed to update feed mill owners and managers, nutritionists, integrators, traders, and others on the production of full fat soybeans. Kim Koch, feed center manager of the Northern Crops Institute at North Dakota State University, presented the latest on extrusion production, quality control, economics, technical specifications, nutritional advantages and other aspects of extruded full fat soybeans.
Nourredine Karim, president of the Moroccan Feed Manufacturers Association; Khantar Mouhamed, president of the Algerian poultry association; and Chaher Chetoui, director of Gipac, a group of poultry producers, updated attendees on poultry and feed industries in their respective markets and discussed various aspects of the soy business in Maghreb region.
Mr. Babb, together with local staff and Morocco consultant Khalid Benabdeljelil, organized the conference, which was followed by field visits with customers in Morocco.
The discussions held at Alf Sahel, the largest feed mill in Morocco, focused on the production of full fat soybean, its technical aspects, and the use of the extruded product in different feed, storage and handling.
The purchasing and logistics of soy products from the U.S. were discussed at Sofalim feed mill where USSEC highlighted the need for high quality feed and ingredients such as U.S. hipro meal to obtain top performance for the feed mill’s turkey and broiler productions.
Industrial compound feed production totals 5.1 million metric tons (MT) in Morocco with 80 percent going to the poultry industry. Poultry remains by far the main user of soybean meal. North Africa’s feed industry is among the fastest growing feed regions in the world.
USSEC recently conducted a full day training session focusing on one-on-one risk management to the Alf Sahel Company at their headquarters in Had Soualem near Casablanca, Morocco.
Representatives from the company’s finance, purchasing and manufacturing departments participated in the training, which was jointly conceived by USSEC and Trilateral, Inc.
The means to handle the volatility of the U.S. dollar and alternate ways to purchase raw materials were among the issues covered by Trilateral CEO Robert Bresnahan. The Moroccan dirham is closely linked to the euro and the strength of the U.S. dollar has increased the cost of feedstock. Mr. Bresnahan explained how to utilize the tools currently available to hedge risk through futures and options.
Further risk management developments aiming to improve procurements strategies are expected to be conducted at Alf Sahel, which is one of the largest compound feed producers in North Africa.
The company thanked USSEC for assisting in purchases that should improve its overall process efficiency, resulting in financial gain.
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 26-28.
The show, ranked in the top 50 of all trade shows in the U.S., is a global meeting forum for suppliers, producers and processors displaying the latest equipment and services representing the entire chain of protein production and processing, and creating a platform for international soy buyers and US suppliers to meet.
It attracted key decision makers from poultry operations, integrated companies, feed mills, associations and allied industries professionals to share ideas, network and conduct business.
At USSEC’s luncheon meeting, the Moroccan delegates greatly benefited from the information presented by Dr. Armando Mirande on “True Costs of Avian Influenza,” the current market threat.
USSEC consultant Khalid Benabdeljelil accompanied the delegation and guided them through various activities conducted by USSEC and IPPE. They were invited to the USSEC booth where they learned more about USSEC and met soybean meal suppliers from the U.S.
Current issues were discussed with United Soybean Director (USB) director Robert White; American Soybean Association (ASA) directors Brooks Hurst and Steve Yoder; Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR & PC) director Jim Call; and Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) director Mike O’Leary.
USSEC’s St. Louis-based staff, along with several consultants from other markets including Europe, Asia and South America, discussed issues related to soybean use with the Moroccan customers at the USSEC booth.
The discussions and one-on-one interactions during the three-day event improved confidence and trust levels between the Moroccan delegation and the U.S Soy industry and USSEC’s worldwide operations.
USSEC – MENA recently arranged training for a new generation of Saudi soybean buyers. Robert Bresnahan, president of Trilateral, Inc., spent four days providing intensive training for seven Saudi soybean buyers at Soybean Crushing Co. & Derivatives in Yanbo, Saudi Arabia.
Trainees were comprised of seven employees, four women and three men, all between the ages of 25 and 30. Participants were eager to learn all aspects of the U.S. and world soybean markets. Major topics covered were “How Value is Determined,” “Reading the Market to Determine Entry Levels,” and “Introduction to Futures and Options.” The trainees’ attention level was intense as the Trilateral training program includes student participation along with several quizzes. At the request of the students, Trilateral will build upon this training session through the exchange of emails. One participant stated that the training increased job satisfaction and morale among the trainees and should result in increased efficiencies in processes, resulting in financial gain.
Mr. Bresnahan traveled on to Casablanca, Morocco and met with animal feed manufacturer Alf Sahel where a full day of training was conducted. Alf Sahel was very interested in how to control the volatility of the U.S. dollar and alternate ways to purchase raw materials. The Moroccan dirham is closely linked to the euro and the strength of the U.S. dollar has increased the cost of feedstocks. Trilateral explained Alf Sahel’s inherent market position and explained how to utilize the tools currently available to hedge their risk through futures and options. All departments of the company from treasury to purchasing to manufacturing participated in the training.
USSEC – Middle East North Africa (MENA) organized a regional workshop focusing on Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) / Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations, Ltd. (FOSFA) Contracts & Arbitration in Agricultural Commodity Trading from January 15 -17 at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, Dead Sea, Jordan.
The activity began with a two-day seminar in Jordan, followed by one-on-one meetings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
The conference was attended by more than 65 participants from 11 different countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Jordan. Participants hailed from major crushers and vegetable oil refineries and represented traders, poultry producers, feed millers, and poultry integrators.
Speakers at the conference included Wayne Bacon, President of Hammersmith; Bob Bresnahan, President of Trilateral, Inc.; and Jay O’Neil, Senior Agricultural Economist, International Grains Program at Kansas State University.
Lectures included: Contracts; The Arbitration Process and What You Need to Know & Do; Buying Raw Materials (Soybeans, Soybean Meal and Soybean oil) in a Down Commodity Cycle; Marine Insurance; Laytime and Demurrage; World Ocean Freight; Global Bulk & Container Shipping Outlook; Vessel Demand and Availability; and What Will The Next Two Years Hold?
With purchase contracts a major factor for the attendees, Mr. Bacon kicked off the workshop by covering the details and risks of GAFTA grain and FOSFA oilseed contracts. The presentation was very well received with many questions from the floor. Dr. O’Neil, who spoke about the problems that can occur, expanded on the first presentation and the use of the arbitration procedures offered by GAFTA and FOSFA, again answering many participant questions.
The day’s proceedings closed with Mr. Bresnahan’s presentation, “Buying Raw Materials in a Down Commodity Cycle.” Mr. Bresnahan showed the attendees the broad dynamics of regional and world market from the supply and demand side.
“The USSEC regional workshop at the Kempinski was an exceptional event with attendance by major users of soybeans and their products from 11 countries in the MENA region,” said Mr. Bacon.
“If one thing can be said about the workshop, it would be a comment on the very high level of participation by the audience, who asked very detailed questions and commented on each speaker,” USSEC Regional Commercial, Technical & Marketing Director – MENA Mousa Wakileh stated. “It seems that the presentations were exactly what was wanted.”
“I’ve been involved in USSEC customer events around the world for many years and I’ve always been impressed with the high caliber of the overseas staff and the truly beneficial relationships they have with our global soy buyers,” said Dr. O’Neil. “And the current contract and risk management workshop conducted in Amman, Jordan is a glowing example of such. The program quality and customer interaction encountered at this event is testament to the value of USSEC overseas staff and the programs they conduct.”
“North Africa is a very competitive market, yet we find loyal buyers who are eager to engage with USSEC representatives and to learn more about how to contract and ship U.S. Soy in the most competitive way,” he continued.
“The most common customer concern here has been that of quality, particularly as it relates to perceived differences in quality between origin and destination. From what I’m hearing, it appears these buyers need to gain a better understanding of how to apply the USDA grade standards to their specific needs and how the vessel load plan affects quality variability within each vessel shipment. A well-informed buyer is always a good and appreciative one,” concluded Dr. O’Neil.
USSEC organized the first USSEC Regional Aqua Investment Conference – MENA from November 20-23 at the Grosvenor House in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for regional fish producers.
The activity started with one-on-one meetings in Egypt, followed by a two-day seminar in Dubai, followed by two days of one-on-one meetings in Turkey.
More than 80 participants from 10 different countries attended the conference. Participants hailed from major aquaculture producers and aquaculture feed millers in Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Speakers from different parts of the world included American Soybean Association (ASA) director Jeff Sollars; United Soybean Board (USB) director Robert Stobaugh; USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb; Muntaser Dawwas, CEO, Invest Bank; USSEC Marketing Director – International Aquaculture / Customer Focus Colby Sutter; Mian Riaz, Director, Food Protein R&D Center, Texas A&M University; Michael Martin, Regional Sales Director, Insta-Pro International; Tim O’Keefe, President, Aqua-Food Technologies, Inc.; G. Ramesh, Technical Sales Advisor, Aqua Feed Division, Wenger Manufacturing Inc.; Djamal Djouhri, CEO, Al Ghurair Resources; and USSEC consultant Sirri Kayhan.
USSEC has a long-time relationship with Texas A&M University and sends participants from all over the world to attend aqua feed extrusion short courses offered by the Food Protein Research and Development Center in College Station, Texas. USSEC also has long-term relationship with Insta-Pro International, Wenger Manufacturing Inc, and Aqua-Food Technologies, Inc., where all parties cooperate to develop the international markets of soybeans and soybean products.
Information provided by the speakers included: update of USSEC’s global aquaculture programs; starting aquafeed production with small-scale, scalable extrusion plant; overview of aqua feed production; cost effective feed formulations in challenging economic times; managing the feed business around formulation; new advances in aqua feed extrusion technologies; investment opportunities in MENA’s aquaculture industry; financing and funding options by banks and investment funds for aquaculture projects; finance opportunities for the aquaculture industry; aquaculture developments in Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia; and success stories.
Insta-Pro’s Michael Martin commented, “The high level of audience participation and networking was a measure of the success of the event, which comes at a time when countries throughout the region are expanding their seafood production in response to consumer demand and food security concerns. Representing Insta-Pro International, a member of USSEC, I appreciated the opportunity to present Insta-Pro’s aquafeed technology to this high-level audience. As often happens at this type of event, the networking opportunities were as valuable as the presentations themselves.”
He also congratulated the USSEC team’s efforts on a “first-class event that will assist aquaculture operators in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa to plan for the future and expand their operations, which will inevitably raise demand for U.S. Soy.”
G. Ramesh of Wenger stated, “Wenger has been a proud member of USSEC since its inception and we continue to enjoy the partnership in promoting the use of soy via extrusion processing across several food and feed related industries.” He continued, “The recent 1st Regional Aqua Investment Conference organized by the USSEC MENA regional office in Dubai was the latest example of the opportunities provided through this cooperation. The aquaculture industry in this region has shown significant signs of growth, and this conference provided a forum to educate participants in the benefits of soy inclusion in these extruded feeds.”
USSEC – Middle East North Africa (MENA) organized its first round table meeting for Egyptian soybean oil processors in Cairo, Egypt on September 10. Approximately 25 local key soybean oil refiners and crushers participated.
USSEC regional technical and commercial consultant Najeh Asad moderated the event and two Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff members from the Cairo office attended the roundtable. Orestes Vasquez, Agricultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, provided opening remarks on behalf of Ronald Verdonk, the Regional Agricultural Minister Counselor.
Mr. Asad highlighted USSEC’s mission and potential projects to be carried out in Egypt promoting the use of U.S. Soy in the Egyptian market. He also spoke on the trends and growth of Egypt’s soybean oil sector.
Addressing customer issues, the consultant discussed the related refining difficulties due to the associated high green color and the high free fatty acid content, in addition to the possible causes of the color reversion occurrence in freshly refined soybean oil produced recently by a large number of the local refineries using crude soybean oil produced by local crushers from soybeans of non – U.S. origin.
The roundtable meetings were followed by site visits to key leading customers, during which the consultant discussed and presented the importance and advantages of U.S. soy oil attributes either obtained by direct import from the U.S. or by local crush of U.S. soybeans, in addition to the high value of related logistics issues.
Currently, Egypt uses over 600 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybean oil with a total vegetable oil consumption of about 2.4 million metric tons (MMT). Additionally, Egypt consumes over 2 MMT of whole soybeans, which are mostly used by crushers to produce oil and meal. The local crush industry supplies about 50 percent of the country’s requirement, while the rest is covered through imports.