LONDON, ENGLAND — Members of the International Grains Council met on June 10 to review the latest supply and demand outlook and market developments for the global grains and oilseeds markets, recent changes in national policies and various administrative matters. 

These included an update on participation in the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) Secretariat, which the IGC joined in October 2012. The council agreed to extend the Grains Trade Convention,1995, by a further two years from  July 1, 2013, when oilseeds will be formally included in the definition of grains.

The council’s latest forecasts for 2013-14, as detailed in the latest Grain Market Report
(GMR433, May 31, 2013), suggest a less tight situation with a 7% increase in world total grains production, and a 33 million tonne recovery in end-season stocks to just above 2011-12 levels.
However, near-term availabilities remained constrained, which was reflected in still elevated prices. The IGC Grains and Oilseeds Index, while down from the high in September 2012, was up 5% year-over-year.

The council considered various administrative matters, including an update from the
Secretariat on progress with the economic work program, of which the most significant development was the establishment of full coverage of soybeans and rapeseed/canola supply and demand. 

The IGC’s first forecasts for 2013-14 would be released in the next GMR on July 1. For 2013-14, the council would continue to focus on its core analytical activities, while enhancing collaboration with other international organizations, particularly through the AMIS initiative. 

The chairman of the new Food Assistance Convention (FAC), Kilian Greter (Switzerland), gave an update on developments since it had come into force on  Jan. 1, and invited more members to join.

The council appointed Eugene Philhower, Agricultural Counselor, U.S. Embassy, London, as chairman for 2013-14, and H.E. Waleed El Khereiji, director of Grain Silos & Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO), Saudi Arabia as vice-chairman.

The council took note of statements by observers from the FAO and OECD. It also welcomed the participation of observers from several non-member countries: Bolivia, Brazil, China, Guatemala, Taipei Chinese Separate Customs Territory and Tanzania.

On June 11, members of the council were joined by a large number of representatives from industry and other organizations for the IGC Grains Conference, on the theme of “Assessing prospects, addressing challenges.” 

The conference featured speakers from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, France and the U.K., covering a wide range of topics.

In particular, Thomé Guth, director at the National Company of Food Supply (CONAB), Brazil, and Wang Xiaohui, division director at the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre, China, discussed the situation and outlook for maize and soybeans in their respective countries.

The conference also featured two workshops, one organized by the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), which explored prospects and challenges key to the international grain trade and markets. The other was organized by the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) on parties’ risks and responsibilities with regard to the quality and condition of goods.