USSEC and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) successfully hosted two one-day workshops, “U.S. Agriculture Supply Workshop,” the first in Singapore on September 26, followed by a second workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on September 27. The purpose of these workshops was to engage members of the grain trade community, providing the latest market information and updates for the U.S. harvest this season as well as share the better value that comes with marketing U.S. agricultural products to the destination markets in S.E. Asia. Many of the trading companies present are regular sponsors of USSEC / USGC’s regional activities.
The workshop in Singapore received strong interest from the grain majors and regional trading houses. 35 participants from 13 trading companies attended the first workshop in Singapore, including ADM Asia-Pacific, Bunge Agribusiness Singapore, CHS Singapore, CJ International Asia, COFCO Resources, Crossland Marketing, Engelhart Commodities Trading Partners, Enerfo Group, Glencore Agriculture Pte Ltd, Marubeni Grains & Oilseeds, Scoular Asia, Toyota Tsusho Asia Pacific and Wilmar Trading. Collectively, these companies represent more than eighty percent of the agricultural commodity trade flows into Southeast Asia. The second workshop held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, hosted over 40 industry representatives and members of the Malaysian Feed Mill Association.
A key aspect of this workshop was the Animal Nutrition 101 component, a basic introduction to help non-technical personnel to better understand quality and the value that exists in U.S. agricultural products, especially U.S. soybean meal. Dr. Basilisa Reas, USSEC Technical Consultant, presented on the fundamental concepts of animal nutrition and the importance of matching nutrients from the major feed ingredients, such as soybeans, meal, and grains, to the nutritional requirements of poultry and livestock to manage feed cost, achieve better animal performance, and improve profitability. Dr. Reas illustrated through comparative feed studies that the value in soybean meal lies not in its crude protein, but in its digestible amino acid profile and metabolizable energy to which U.S. soybean meal is the better value option overall. The same presentation was modified, albeit with the same value message, to suit the audience profile in Malaysia which included both technical and trade representatives.
Timothy Loh, USSEC Regional Director - Southeast Asia, articulated the opportunities and challenges for the agricultural industry for the region and highlighted the consumption trends for the major agricultural products, particularly soybeans and soybean meal. Mr. Loh reiterated the U.S. Soy family’s commitment to quality and sustainable production of U.S. Soy in meeting international buyers’ requirements. He also encouraged the application of U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) certification and introduced the Sustainable U.S. Soy logo and its criteria for use. A major grain customer has since reached out to USSEC with interest and intention to apply the logo on their U.S. Soy product.
Other speakers at the workshops included Manuel Sanchez, USGC Regional Director for Southeast Asia, who provided a timely insight on the “2017-2018 U.S. Coarse Grains Outlook”; Sue Goll, an agricultural consultant with over 30 years of experience, provided a “Global Overview on Grains and Oilseeds.” Ms. Goll also gave two more presentations, one basic and another intermediate on price and risk management; Michel Everaert, Managing Director of Client Development & Sales Commercials at CME Group Inc., who gave a “CME Agricultural Market Update Focusing on Asian Hour Liquidity”; and Oscar Tjakra, Director of RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, who spoke on the “Current and Future State of the Grains and Oilseeds Trade into Southeast Asia.”
From the written evaluations received, the workshop received excellent feedback with 96 percent of attendees rating the workshop content as “valuable” to “of high value.” Most welcomed the broad but comprehensive information provided, in particular Dr Reas’ Animal Nutrition 101, an easy to understand introduction to a non-technical audience. The participants also very much appreciated the ample time allocated for networking and interaction with other members of the trading community.
Besides these two workshops held in Singapore and Malaysia, USSEC Southeast Asia has also successfully organized a series of other U.S. Soy Supply Workshops in the region this year “Delivering U.S. Soy Total Quality Experience” to more than 200 soy buyers in Indonesia (May 15-19) and Thailand (June 27 – 29).