LONDON, ENGLAND — To mark its 70th anniversary and 49th session, the International Grains Council welcomed council delegates and conference participants to a reception at the Japanese embassy on June 11.

Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan, welcomed all guests and congratulated IGC members on 70 years of international cooperation in grains trade and thanked the U.K. government for hosting the intergovernmental organization.

“The International Grains Conference is a fantastic opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with key players from across the global grains and oilseeds supply chain,” said Robert Goodwill, Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK. “The total value of crops output in the U.K. last year was estimated to be more than £9 million — a rise of 1.7% on the previous year. We must continue to capitalize on the opportunities for the sector, including boosting international trade and harnessing new technologies.”

Robert Johansson, chief economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he was honored to help commemorate 70 years of international grains trade cooperation.

“Given the current uncertainty in grains and oilseeds markets and the many crop production and food security challenges we face going forward, we can be sure that the IGC’s role in facilitating trade for both producers and consumers will only increase in importance,” he said.

Arnaud Petit, executive director of the IGC, said in the last 70 years the IGC has extended its coverage to monitor trade in 16 commodities, including food staples. Currently IGC provides daily cost and freight prices for more than 200 routes, reflecting total costs of global trade in grains and oilseeds.

“All this information enhances transparency in international markets and supports policy decision-making processes,” he said. “Through the IGC grains conference, the organization has also developed a platform of regular dialogue between the public and private sectors.”

Shuichi Akamatsu, chairman of the IGC, proposed a toast to the future of the organization.

Delegates enjoyed a variety of Japanese drinks and food such as Japanese traditional sake, awamori and miso as well as Japanese wagyu beef and fruits, including products produced in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.