BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. —  Attendees the 8th annual Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., benefitted from key market insights provided by renowned industry analysts and executives, including Thomas Mielke, editor of OIL WORLD, and Carl Casale, chief executive officer of CHS.

With a projected world population by 2050 of over 9 billion, all speakers talked of the need to double the food supply by that time. Compounding this need were several factors, as outlined by Philippe de Lapérouse, managing director of HighQuest Partners, the agribusiness strategic consulting firm that hosts the Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit.  

Among these factors were:

•      Growing urbanization of the global population which is putting pressure on available arable land for crop production and increasing reliance on processed foods;

•      Fast growing middle classes in developing markets which are shifting from grain to protein-based diets; and

•      Constraints on the supply of crops due to competition for water with other uses, climate change, and a slowdown in yield increases of the major crops.

Lapérouse also pointed to the linkage of the agricultural sector to the energy markets due to biofuel policies implemented in major markets around the world.  Additionally noted was the lack of human capital needed to support a growing agricultural sector as a result of generational transfer in both developed and developing markets, and inadequate capacity building in developing markets.

Mielke echoed these concerns over the challenges of being able to meet future demand for food crops, noting that agricultural land has become a limiting factor worldwide with land values having more than doubled within the past six years.

“In conclusion,” said Mielke, while predicting a bearish outlook for 2014, “while underlying market demand for oilseeds and meals is strong in the near-term, we need to focus more on higher yields and global solutions to the volume and logistics problems the industry is facing.”

The more than 600 attendees at the Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit had access to outstanding networking opportunities with hundreds of traders and importers, including representatives from prominent companies such as Jilin Grain Group and Xiamen Mingsui Grains & Oils Trading Company, both from China, and Fiagril Ltd. from Brazil.