WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) poultry consultant reported on April 26 that two of Ecuador's largest poultry producers, representing 90% of the poultry sector, have the potential to utilize 160,000 tonnes of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) per year.

Although there are limiting factors, including price, that currently impede the importation of the U.S. product, the issues mostly reflect a lack of experience and market education. The council will be focusing future market education activities in Ecuador to address these issues to ensure they are not an excuse to not import DDGS in the future.

Use of DDGS is currently limited due to the following factors:

  • Price: DDGS is currently priced high compared to the combination of corn and soybean meal. In addition, some of the companies visited did not know that DDGS now has no duties in Ecuador.
  • Logistics: There is a low storage capacity at most feed mills; some have also had problems storing corn and soybean meal. The consultants believe the best way to start working with DDGS is with brokers that can flat-store DDGS in Ecuador and distribute it to the feed mills weekly.
  • Product Information: Some potential users need more information about DDGS nutritional value and quality aspects. The main drawbacks mentioned were nutrient variability; color variability; mycotoxins; oxidation; bridging/low flowability; and risk of contamination.

Ecuador produces approximately 2 million tonnes of feed per year of which 1.5 million tonnes, or 75%, is poultry feed. Poultry is growing at a rate of 8% to 10% per year. Since Ecuador's poultry sector is the dominant feed grain importer, the USGC assessment was critical in understanding how to break down this sector's resistance to imports and formulate plans for the future.