ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — Seven representatives from the top milling and food companies in Nigeria will visit Nebraska, Kansas and Texas June 16-26 to survey the current year’s hard red winter and hard white wheat crops.

“These trade team visits connect our Nigerian customers with the farmers that consistently produce the high quality wheat they expect and the grain industry responsible for supplying it,” said Gerald Theus, assistant regional director for the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Sub-Sahara African regional office in Cape Town, South Africa, who will accompany the team. “Participants gain firsthand knowledge of the current year’s crop and confidence in the U.S. grain marketing system.”

USW is sponsoring this trade team with support from the Nebraska Wheat Board, Kansas Wheat and Texas Wheat. During their visit, the Nigerian team will meet with farmers and industry officials to discuss the supply and quality of the current wheat crop, although the team will likely not see much wheat in Kansas fields due to the early harvest. The team will also discuss wheat research, including the future introduction and hoped-for traits of biotech wheat, in visits with Dr. Forrest Chumley at Heartland Plant Innovations and Kansas Wheat as the team tours the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center construction site.

Team members include representatives from the world’s second largest miller, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and other leading Nigerian flour milling companies. Flour Mills of Nigeria is the world’s largest importer of HW wheat, shipped in containers from its own export elevator in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S. The company also imports soft red winter, hard red winter, hard red spring and Desert Durum wheat.

Nigeria is the only country that has imported all six classes of U.S. wheat. Flour milling is Nigeria’s second largest industry — behind oil — and the country buys up to 90% of its wheat from the United States. USW’s in-country presence through an office is Lagos and a long-term commitment to technical training and assistance have combined to build a top market for U.S. wheat in Nigeria, including the largest overall buyer in 2009-10. Based on USDA analysis, USW estimated that the loss of this market alone could reduce U.S. farm gate prices by 15¢ per bushel.