News: Middle East / North Africa
USSEC hosted its annual seminar on cost effective aquafeed formulations and aquafeed manufacturing in Egypt. A total of 80 participants attended the event, representing the top aquaculture feed mills and aqua producers.
Bret Tate, U.S. Agricultural Attaché – Cairo, opened the seminar. In his opening speech, Mr. Tate pointed out the importance of the agricultural and trade relationships between Egypt and the United States and stressed the win-win opportunity presented by the aquaculture industry, which utilizes large quantities of soy.
Egypt imports approximately 4 million metric tons (MMT) of soy, mainly soybeans along with some soybean meal. Historically, 50 percent of the beans are of U.S. origin.
During the week of the seminar, the USSEC team conducted one-on-one industry visits with aqua feed mills to provide the necessary support for adoption of least cost formulation and the benefits that arise from formulating with U.S. Soy.
USSEC consultant Tim O’Keefe, keynote speaker at the event, praised the sequence of the seminar. The morning session provided an opportunity for the participants to gain an understanding of the nutritional requirements of tilapia. The session that followed was delivered by USSEC Regional Project Manager – EU / (Middle East – North Africa (MENA) Sirri Kayan, who provided participants with the opportunity to apply that knowledge using an interactive model that allowed them to share in the formulation process. The participants helped in formulating a number of diets while applying different ingredients on least cost software to demonstrate the value of U.S. Soy.
Guest speaker Dr. G. Ramesh of Wenger delivered a presentation on the manufacturing process of marine diets and the new developments in the area of marine diet formulation. The presentation revolved around the critical factors in marine diet formulation including the high inclusion rates of fat and the ability of different types of equipment to handle fat inclusion rates including, single screw extruders and double screw as well as the advantages of high intensity pre conditioner. He applauded the level of interaction and interest of the participants, saying they were “reactive, very interested, and highly engaged. Clearly the aquaculture industry is growing rapidly.”
Ned Williams from Ever-Extruder spoke about the background and history of his company and Carbide technology advantages and industries. Mr. Williams also presented new and innovative technology for dyes, knives, drive hubs, extruder alignment, and support for high efficacy and SSDS innovation for real time density control. Mr. Williams commented that this seminar and similar USSEC activities that take part around the world is truly a global effort on the part of USSEC and provides the opportunity for global exposure for U.S. companies seeking international markets.
Hussein Mansour of Aller Aqua delivered the final presentation of the seminar. His presentation revolved around future perspectives in the Egyptian aqua industry, mainly the complete replacement of fishmeal by soy in tilapia diets, as well as the global trend of aquaculture as a replacement of wild catch. Mr. Hussein also explained the importance of fish protein for the Egyptian market. Current per capita consumption is almost 21 kilograms (kg). He added that while Egypt is one of the top producers in the world of aquaculture products, most of the fish is sold on the spot market; Mr. Hussein explained that in the future, processing will play a major role in the development of the industry. During his presentation, he explained the importance of increased customer awareness of the quality of farmed tilapia and the initiative that is currently being adopted by the industry to produce a generic brand under the name Egyptian Tilapia.
A team of key customers from the Moroccan dairy and feed industry attended USSEC’s 3rd Regional Dairy Nutrition & Soy Hulls Conference held in Dead Sea, Jordan April 8 – 10.
The team, which was composed of the largest dairy cooperative and feed mill representatives and sales staffs of ruminant feed and milk producers, appreciated its participation in the conference, which gave the members an opportunity to learn more about herd feeding and dairy nutrition management.
The Moroccan dairy sector is composed of large regional dairy producer cooperatives and several smaller dairy coops with a total of 1.2 million cows producing 1,400 million liters of milk per year. Per capita consumption of dairy products was 42 kilograms (kg) five years ago and is projected to reach about 140 kg by 2020. The “Green Morocco Plan” sees the development of modern dairies and the consolidation of smaller units as a projected means to double dairy production by 2020. Most large beef and dairy operations are gradually moving toward integration.
The feed millers association (AFAC) has identified an opportunity in the dairy and ruminant feed for developing the ruminant compound feed market in Morocco. Ruminant compound feed production grew fivefold in the last ten years reaching one million tons in 2016 with a growing use of compound feed by the dairy sector.
Soy product (soybeans, soy hulls, soy oil, bypass proteins, etc.) usage is increasing in dairy feed sustained by a higher understanding of their nutritional supply in concentrates, as nitrogen correctors, and as part of total mix rations (TMR).
USSEC programs continue to better position U.S. Soy products in a growing ruminants feed market. Attendance of key partners to trade and technical conferences contributes to develop new business relationships with prospects for U.S. soybean products.
During the first week of April, a team of poultry nutrition and disease control consultants, consisting of Dr. Richard Miles, professor emeritus of poultry nutrition at the University of Florida, and Dr. Gary Butcher, professor of poultry diseases at the University of Florida, visited Romania to provide technical assistance to U.S. soybean meal customers from Romania and Bulgaria. USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Dr. Iani Chihaia escorted the visitors.
For three full days, the team of consultants met with key broiler integrations from southern Romania and northern Bulgaria to learn about the current status of poultry diseases in the region and offer recommendations in preventing the most critical threat to the worldwide poultry industry, avian influenza. Dr. Miles emphasized the importance of soybean meal quality for modern broilers and how U.S. Soy creates advantages for the broiler farming industry.
Broiler house management, poultry necropsy techniques, and the reasons for vaccination failure were discussed during onsite sessions organized at the farms for the customers’ technical teams. Young professionals both enjoyed and benefited from the meetings with the U.S. experts and asked for future trainings conducted by Drs. Miles and Butcher.
Although their industries are still considered small, Romania and Bulgaria’s poultry farming sectors have made significant progress during the past decade in both volume and technical performances, enabling them to compete with important European players, making the two countries’ industries valued and reliable customers for U.S. Soy. Offering technical support in the field of nutrition and disease control is creating a win-win relationship between exporters and the growing southeast European poultry industry.
USSEC organized two animal feed formulation training sessions in Tunis, Tunisia on April 18 and 19, in collaboration with the Tunisian National Veterinary School (ENMV) and the Scientific Poultry Veterinarian Association (SSTMVA).
Sirri Kayhan, USSEC Country Representative – Turkey and specialist in animal feed formulation, planned these events. The first day was organized at Sidi Thabet at ENMV and the audience was composed of graduate veterinary students and the staff of the nutrition department. The second day was held at the poultry association headquarters, with the presence of nutritionists from eight major feed companies. Mr. Kayhan gave a presentation on feed formulation and performed a practical training session based on real examples.
Dr. Jamel Rekhis, animal nutrition professor and head of LCAAB, National Reference Nutrition Laboratory, also participated by giving a presentation on the importance of soy products in animal nutrition.
Because of the high level of the event, major feed groups were present at this training. After the event, the participants expressed their satisfaction about the scientific level of the speakers and the organization of the event.
Before the training session, Mr. Kayhan had the opportunity to visit two plants with Dr. Riadh Karma, USSEC Country Representative – Tunisia: NUTRIMIX, the largest feed mill in the country, and Green Label Oil (GLO), a new extrusion plant recently build by Poulina Group Holding.
The extrusion plant is a good acquisition for the Poulina Group Holding to satisfy its needs in full fat soybean meal, soybean oil, and express soymeal. The total nominal capacity of this extrusion unit should be around 17,000 metric tons (MT) of beans per month (around 200,000 MT per year). The storage capacity for soybeans will be around 30,000 MT in metal silos.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gary Butcher, a professor of at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, traveled to Egypt from April 8 – 13. His program, which was coordinated by USSEC – Middle East/North African (MENA), provided an opportunity to meet with key technical personnel in the Egyptian poultry industry who had participated in an intensive USSEC training program at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2016.
During the week in Egypt, Dr. Butcher visited three major poultry integrators and spoke at the Reference Laboratory for Poultry Diseases in Cairo. Poultry diseases in Egypt are causing severe losses and are limiting the ability to expand production, as costs of production are increased and the ability to export are adversely affected. Dr. Butcher advised the poultry industry on vaccination programming, interpretation of diagnostic testing, and plans of action for controlling devastating diseases such as H5 and H9 Avian Influenza, Genotype 7 Newcastle disease, and endemic Mycoplasma infections.
Improved production and expansion of the poultry industry in Egypt will increase demand for soybean and soybean products in Egypt and the Middle East.
As part of the study to improve marketing of Egyptian aquaculture products, a wrap up workshop was held on April 18 at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, entitled “Improved Marketing of Egyptian Aquaculture Products.” Forty participants attended the event. They included fish farmers (both freshwater and marine), traders, feed mill operators, researchers, and some development partners.
The workshop aimed to present the findings of the study undertaken by Ian Goulding and Maggie Kamel to “Characterize and Improve Distribution of Aquaculture Products in Egypt.” The seminar was divided into four sessions: analysis and key findings of the study; recommendations to improve marketing; guidelines for handling of aquaculture products; and discussion.
Based on a SWOT analysis of the aquaculture sector, Goulding drew recommendations for both the private sector, centering around developing new marketing channels through investment in processing and distribution infrastructure; improving safety, hygiene and handling conditions; improved organization of the sector (strengthened association of aquaculture operators); and generic marketing support.
Participants actively engaged in a vibrant discussion over the recommendations. They agreed on the need for establishing an organization to better represent the interests of the sector and lead some of the marketing activities required to support the sector. They also discussed potential technical assistance activities that could be extended by development partners such as training and study tours.
USSEC – Middle East/North Africa (MENA) organized the 3rd Regional Dairy Nutrition Conference, held at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar in Dead Sea, Jordan from April 8 – 11.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Jacob Parker of North Carolina and American Soybean Board (ASA) director Dave Poppens of South Dakota traveled to Jordan for this event and spoke to attendees about their experiences as U.S. farmers and about the benefits of U.S. Soy. Orestes Vasquez, Senior Agricultural Attaché, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Embassy – Cairo, gave the opening welcome and Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA also welcomed participants to the conference.
The program included: Export Logistics from USA to the Middle East Region; Cow Environment and Comfort Management (mitigation of heat stress with limited resources); Evaluation and Application of Bypass Protein in Dairy Rations; Feeding the Heat Stressed Dairy Cow – Managing the Total Mix Ration (TMR); TMR Formulation for Dairy Cows – The Cost Effect of Bypass Soy to Dairy Diets; Calf Nutrition and its Impact on Later Performance; and A Partnership – The U.S. Soy Total Quality Experience.
65 participants from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey participated in the conference. Participants included major dairy producers and feed millers in the region.
The activity ended with a field visit led by Frank Delfino of Delfino Nutrition and Management, Inc. to one of the most advanced dairy farms in the region.
Feedback from conference speakers was very positive.
“The 3rd Regional Dairy Nutrition Conference, put together by USSEC – MENA, was a well-organized educational event with a good range of presentation topics and key individuals associated with the dairy industry from the Middle East and North Africa among the attendees,” said Dave Gast, Head Nutritionist, AGP. “The conference provided an excellent opportunity to meet with current customers as well develop new business relationships with prospects for U.S. soybean products. The large attendance at this conference speaks well for the quality of the conference and the value of the social and educational opportunities provided to those in attendance. Looking forward to more great conferences.”
Mr. Delfino stated, “The first day of the conference had very engaged MENA participants with excellent questions and discussion both during and after presentations. The ‘one on one’ meetings lasted well after presentations and into the evening. Could not have been a better venue.”
“Everything ran very smoothly and the attendees chosen, a total of 65 people from 11 countries, was a great mix of cultures and buyers,” said Kevin Sinnott, president of Fornazor International. “We have met many buyers we did not know before the seminar and look forward to following up with all of them on potential business. All of the presenters were very informative.”
A USSEC delegation composed of American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kevin Scott and United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Carroll and John Harrell participated in the 4th Poultry Roundtable for Maghreb’s feed industry recently held at Skhirat, Morocco, accompanied by Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU / Middle East North Africa (MENA). The USSEC event provided an excellent platform to discuss current issues in poultry feeding in Maghreb.
The grower leaders’ team and experts visited leading poultry and feed customers in Morocco to further increase awareness of U.S. Soy quality, reliability, and sustainability among feed and poultry producers. They highlighted their commitment in building strong trade relationships with their professional partners in the Moroccan feed industry and animal producers, especially poultry.
On April 3, the presidents of Moroccan Federation of Poultry Associations (FISA) and the Feed Manufacturers Association (AFAC) signed a certificate of recognition of U.S. Soy’s sustainability following the production protocol outlined in the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). FISA and USSEC will partner to provide quality, sustainable, and reliable feed to the local industry.
In his speech, Mr. Babb briefly summarized years of partnership and explained U.S. soybeans’ sustainability and current interests.
USSEC continues to develop targeted promotional efforts to accompany the growth of the sector and to help differentiate U.S. soybean meal from others in the Moroccan market. Morocco‘s livestock sector and feed industries continue to grow and become professionally oriented, setting a good example for other North Africa markets. Over 500,000 tons of poultry feed and another half million tons were produced yearly over the last eight years.
The signature of the certificate was well received by the federation, which is very aware of the value and strength of the U.S. supply chain and the high value and quality of U.S. soybean meal.
Over 80 percent of the feed produced in Morocco is by mills that are members of AFAC.
A team of eight key customers from the Tunisian poultry and feed industry attended the 4th USSEC Maghreb Poultry Nutrition Roundtable, held in Skhirat in the Rabat area, Morocco on April 4 and 5.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Jim Carroll III, USB director John Harrell, and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kevin Scott traveled to Morocco to participate in this event. USSEC consultant Dr. Riadh Karma escorted the Tunisian team.
The Tunisian team members viewed the event as a great success and said it provided an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about advanced poultry nutrition and flock nutrition management.
The participants from Tunisia appreciated being present among a large audience of people from neighboring countries to exchange experiences and do business. After the conference, all of them had, in addition to updated nutrition knowledge, a better idea about the sustainability of the soy production in the U.S.
Dr. Nabil Darwish, chairman of Egyptian Poultry Producers, spoke at the U.S. – Middle East/North African (MENA) Agribusiness Trade Mission in Cairo, Egypt on April 2. Below is the text of the speech that Dr. Darwish delivered to USSEC chairman Jim Miller, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, and representatives of the Egyptian soy industry.
“On behalf of the Egyptian Poultry Association, welcome again to Egypt and thanks to the great events and programs that have been organized by the USSEC team over the past few years.
We have found the events and programs very useful because of the following points:
- Gathered decision makers from around the world in the same field under one roof and gave us a chance to talk about the opportunities and challenges of our industries and listen to each other’s perspective and viewpoints
- Opportunity to meet potential customers and suppliers in the events and broaden our network which created many opportunities
- Opportunity to meet with the industry’s specialists and broaden our technical network, which helps in the improvement and advancement of our industry
- Tackle some of the important topics facing our industry like disease prevention, biosecurity, cost-efficient feed formulation, nutrition, and production efficiency
- Emphasize the importance of the quality of commodities in feed production; U.S.-origin soybeans improving diet quality and performance
- Discuss purchasing of raw material and the different purchasing approaches that can be done to decrease the feed cost
- Logistics handling and its importance in trade sustainability
- What to look at and what to look for to facilitate and influence purchasing decisions
- Appreciate technical services program to extruders & presses to make expelled soybean meal for poultry
- We found the events very well organized and the team was always helpful; we thank you very much for the great efforts that have been done and we look forward to attend future events.”
USSEC participated in the U.S. – Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Agribusiness Trade Mission that took place in Cairo, Egypt from April 2 – 6. Over 40 U.S. business representatives met with senior Egyptian government and private sector officials to discuss ways to expand agricultural trade between the United States and Egypt.
USSEC chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Jim Miller, USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, USSEC Acting Asia Subcontinent (ASC) Regional Lead Pam Helmsing, and USSEC Regional Consultant – MENA Mousa Wakileh traveled to Cairo and Alexandria to meet with soy industry leaders from Egyptian animal, aquaculture, feed and soy processing industries.
After the opening session on the first day, USSEC’s team participated in a soy industry roundtable meeting with 12 attendees, including the largest soybean crushing industry, feed millers, poultry producers, and aquaculture representatives in Cairo to review recent joint programs and to discuss opportunities for future collaboration. Along with feed formulation and the proper valuation of U.S. Soy amino acids’ profile, the group discussed ongoing poultry disease issues limiting profitability in the local industry. USSEC is sponsoring poultry disease training in Egypt and at the University of Florida with one of world’s leading experts and plans to continue the training in the coming years.
Alexandria is home to major soy industry activity in Egypt and meetings were held at two expanding facilities on day two. Alex Seeds showed its new crushing and soy oil bottling facility, which expands their crush facility to 5,000 tons per day, and Cargill displayed its crushing plant that is expanding to 6,000 tons per day.
A soy industry lunch to discuss the Egyptian market concluded the visit to the soy crushing plants. Lunch attendees included Mark Slupek, Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Deputy Administrator; Darrell Upshaw, Program Manager; Ron Verdonk, Regional Agricultural Minister Counselor; J. Bret Tate, Agricultural Attaché; and Ahmed Wally, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – FAS Agricultural Specialist; and two of the largest local traders and crushers.
A visit to the new office building of the Wadi Group was conducted to talk to CEO and president of Wadi Holdings Tony Freiji and his team about their business and their views on issues facing the industry in Egypt.
The visit to Egypt concluded with a soy industry dinner with 25 attendees, including Mr. Verdonk and the largest soybean crushers, feed millers, and poultry producers.
It is clear after speaking with mission participants and Egyptian industry representatives that there is optimism in the air and an expectation of even better days ahead. USSEC looks forward to a continued relationship and working together with the Egyptian animal, aquaculture, feed, and soy processing industries on various marketing initiatives and programs. Egypt has long been the largest market for U.S. Soy in the MENA region, and USSEC programs have supported strong growth in the Egyptian crushing, extrusion, poultry nutrition and diseases, dairy, and aquaculture industries.
USSEC conducted its 4th Poultry Roundtable for Maghreb’s Feed Industry on April 4 and 5 in Skhirat (Rabat area), Morocco. The conference, part of USSEC’s FY17 promotional program in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region, provided an excellent platform to discuss current issues in poultry feeding in Maghreb. Over 45 key customers from the feed and poultry industry attended the conference: 9 from Tunisia, 13 from Algeria and 24 from Morocco.
The program aimed to update feed mill owners and managers, nutritionists, integrators, traders, and others recent advances in nutrition and feeding of poultry, showing the advantages of U.S. soybean meal.
USSEC Regional Director – MENA Brent Babb highlighted the importance of Maghreb markets within MENA and globally. Morocco and Tunisia are the largest buyers of U.S. Soy products, which are the main U.S. agricultural value products in Maghreb, a leading export destination for U.S. Soy products.
USSEC and American Soybean (ASA) director Kevin Scott and United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Carroll and John Harrell visited leading poultry customers’ facilities in Morocco. Mr. Carroll and Mr. Scott presented their respective farming operations, U.S. Soy production, and showed the sustainability of their practices. They presented U.S. soybean farmer sustainability goals by 2025.
Dr. Rory Deverel, vice president of INTL FC Stone Ltd, covered global supply and demand of different feed commodities, market trends, and variation factors.
A presenter from each of the three markets updated attendees on poultry and feed industries in their respective markets and discussed various aspects of the soy business in the Maghreb region during the panel organized at the end of the roundtable conference. “B” to “B” sessions were then held with USSEC consultant experts.
The conference was followed by field visits to key customers’ facilities in feed and poultry industry. All customers visited were satisfied with the consistent quality of U.S. soybean meal and the reliability of the U.S. soybean value chain. These two main recognized advantages of U.S. Soy products are not found when soybean meal is sourced from other origins.
Team discussions at one-on-one meeting with Alf Al Mabrouk covered quality issues of U.S. soybean meal. At Alf Sahel, the largest mill in Morocco, a visit was organized to the new extrusion facility that was recently installed. Purchasing and logistics of soy products from the U.S. were discussed at Sofalim feed mill where the team highlighted the need for high quality feed and ingredients such as U.S. hipro meal to obtain top performance for the company turkey and broiler productions.
Although Morocco’s compound feed production declined to 3.75 million metric tons (MMT) in 2016 due to the avian influenza (AI) outbreak with 73 percent going to the poultry industry, poultry remains by far the main the largest user of soybean meal.
USSEC recently launched a post-harvest and fish hygiene study in Egypt. The study, which is being carried out by Megapesce, aims to improve the market opportunities for Egyptian aquaculture products. Currently, Egypt ranks eighth globally in terms of aquaculture production. However, the post-harvest, cold chain, and processing infrastructure are minimal to non-existent, putting downward price pressure on Egyptian aquaculture products that have to sold in the spot market that operates entirely as fresh produce with no opportunities for freezing and processing, which typically allows the excess product to maintain value. Consequently, Egypt suffers from seasonality of supply.
This study will identify opportunities to increase the value for Egyptian aquaculture products by creating the means for extending the shelf life of fish and a sustainable price.
A fruitful meeting between USSEC and the U. S. Grains Council (USGC) was held in March 2017 at USGC’s regional office in Tunis, on invitation of Ramy Haj Taieb. Mr. Taieb was appointed as USGC’s new regional director for Africa and the Middle East in January 2017.
Mr. Taieb served as the trade manager of Poulina Group Holding, the largest ingredient and feed company in Tunisia, for about twenty years. In addition to being an important USSEC customer, he participated with USSEC, the American Soybean Association (ASA), and American Soybean Association – International Marketing (ASA-IM) in many events and trips to the United States. USSEC Consultant – Tunisia Dr. Riadh Karma, represented USSEC at this meeting. Mohamed Ali Hsayri, an experienced USGC consultant and assistant of the regional director, also attended the meeting.
The meeting provided an opportunity to share information on the Tunisian ingredient feed and animal production market, as well as current and future approaches for USGC and USSEC activities in Tunisia and in Maghreb. There was a detailed exchange on future events and activities in order to coordinate and improve the respective calendars for both cooperators’ activities, as well as customer choices for each event.
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. Taher 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.
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.