WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Upon completion of a recent U.S. Grains Council (USGC) market assessment in Chile, staff and consultants concluded that Chile could easily import up to 1 million tonnes of U.S. corn products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten meal annually, despite a slow decline in current import levels.

In 2010, Chile imported roughly 140,000 tonnes of U.S. corn gluten meal and DDGS, down from its record high of 200,000 tonnes in 2008.

Kurt Shultz, USGC regional director in Latin America, said the decline in exports can be attributed to three primary causes – “a crash in the Chilean salmon industry in 2009; the Chilean earthquake in 2010 which devastated the country; and an increase in Argentinean exports to Chile.”

During the recent visit, however, the team found that the country is rebuilding its salmon industry and projections indicate production will reach and exceed 2008 levels early in 2012. The salmon industry is under tremendous pressure to replace fish meal with vegetable proteins which bodes well for corn gluten meal exports and potentially DDGS.

In addition, there is a tremendous expansion of the swine industry occurring with Agrosuper building a $600 million, 150,000 sow production unit in northern Chile, which will effectively double Chile’s swine numbers.

“As a result of assessment, it became abundantly clear that the pork and poultry sectors are key to expanding the use of U.S. DDGS,” said Shultz.

In response, the council will develop and implement a promotion program to target these sectors and demonstrate the price saving and nutritional advantages of using U.S. co-products.