ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is bringing five milling industry customers from the Philippines to soft white (SW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) production regions Aug. 6 to 16. These managers have a diverse range of responsibilities and experience, said Manila-based Joe Sowers, USW assistant regional director for South Asia, who is travelling with the team.

USW said the growing demand for wheat foods in the Republic of the Philippines is good news for U.S. wheat farmers, who have more than 90% market share of imports there. With that growth, however, comes a need to expand the knowledge of new flour milling managers about the quality, value and reliability of U.S. wheat and its supply chain.

“U.S. wheat has been a big part of the Filipino milling and baking industry for more than 50 years,” Sowers said. “Coming to the United States helps these new customers understand the work farmers, grain handlers and USDA put in to produce and deliver high-quality wheat and services that can help them grow their businesses.”

With support from participating state wheat commissions, educational partners and the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), the team will get a field-to-vessel look at the U.S. wheat supply system. In visits to Portland, Oregon, U.S., eastern Washington, North Dakota and Kansas, the team will learn about wheat breeding, production, transportation, inspection and certification services and innovative uses.

The Philippines is fifth largest market for U.S. wheat, based on the five-year average. That success is based on strong relationships with industry leaders maintained since 1961. Imports that year were 200,000 tonnes (7.35 million bushels) and have steadily grown to nearly 2.2 million tonnes (80.8 million bushels) in marketing year 2013-14 (June to May), including the largest amounts for both SW and HRS for the marketing year. That is the most U.S. wheat sales since 1999-2000 and the second highest on record. U.S. wheat market share exceeded 93% of total Philippine milling wheat imports in 2013-14, the fourth consecutive year exceeding 90%.

USW collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission, Washington Grain Commission, North Dakota Wheat Commission and Kansas Wheat Commission to organize this team.  

USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS.