USGC sees potential sorghum market in Egypt

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — As part of the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) effort to open the Egyptian market to non-tannin grain sorghum, the council that it tendered 60 tonnes (2,400 bushels) of the grain for commercial feed trials to be conducted this November in Egypt, a council official said on Aug. 19.

The grain sorghum will be utilized by Egypt’s Dakahlia Poultry Co., the third largest vertically integrated poultry operation in that country, said Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations, who outlined the market-building activity.

The feed trials will be supplemented by experiments at the government-run Research Center for Food and Feed, Corry said, adding that a U.S. nutritionist will travel to Egypt to set up the feeding protocols, monitor the trials and analyze results.

The non-tannin sorghum, grown commercially in the U.S. and one other country, is preferred for poultry feed because it does not inhibit the digestion of tryptophan, an essential amino acid in poultry.

While there have been minor sorghum sales in northern Africa and the Middle East, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USPC) is looking to the council for help in establishing lasting marketplaces, said Florentino Lopez, USCP marketing director.

"Israel has just made a purchase and the continued drought in Russia is creating opportunities for U.S. sorghum," Lopez said.

Mexico remains the largest market for U.S. sorghum, taking 75% of U.S. exports, Lopez said.

The council is using its experience in opening the Egyptian market for distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten to develop a sorghum market in Egypt and eliminate the 5 percent duty on sorghum imports, while simultaneously expanding corn sales.

The introduction of non-tannin grain sorghum in Egypt would expand the market basket of products available for import to that country.

"We’re trying to lift up the market share for corn," Corry said, noting that the Egyptian government has moved away from a position of self-sufficiency to one of maintaining food security. "That’s helped a lot."

The council expects the import duties to be eliminated while the trial is taking place, but not before an educational foundation for non-tannin grain sorghum is provided.

"The [Egyptian] minister of agriculture has already signaled that he will work with us to revise the import duty," Corry said. The council was able to have duties eliminated for DDGS and corn gluten when those products were introduced in Egypt. "We feel certain we’ll get the import duty for grain sorghum eliminated as well," he said.

Egyptian buyers will visit the U.S. in October, and as the trials in Egypt begin. The council will run workshops, conferences and seminars as part of its educational efforts there. Trial results will be given in Egyptian seminars in February.

As early as September, the council will support marketing efforts with the purchase of full-page ads in Egyptian national broiler and egg-laying journals through November.

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