WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) reached out to Algerian buyers at a conference on Sept. 15, in Algiers focused on corn and distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) that was designed to encourage a renewed look at the advantages of U.S. feed ingredients.

Algeria is import dependent on corn, with total purchases rising in recent years from approximately 2.8 million tonnes (110 million bushels) in 2010 to 4.1 million tonnes (161 million bushels) in calendar year 2014.

“This is an important North African market for U.S. corn,” said Cary Sifferath, USGC senior director of global programs.

“Algerian poultry farmers, the majority end-user of imported corn, have a preference for Argentinian corn with a red tinge to the kernel color. So Algerian importers will buy Argentine corn even when it doesn’t have a price advantage, and there are complaints about quality, especially excessive dust in U.S. corn. At current prices, however, U.S. corn is getting back into the mix, and the council is working hard to address the quality issues.”

Speakers at the conference introduced the 40 importers and industry representatives in attendance to the council’s activities and current conditions for U.S. crop production and exports.

They included the U.S. agricultural attaché in Algeria, Charles Rush; USGC’s consultant in Algeria, Malek Djebaili, who spoke on what the council does in the region; USGC’s consultant in Europe, Wayne Bacon, who spoke on crop progress; and the president of the feed producers association in Morocco, Noureddine Karim, who shared the experience of using U.S. corn and DDGS in his country.

U.S. corn exports to Algeria were only 64,426 tonnes in 2010, and zero in the next three years. In 2014, however, they rebounded to more than 76,000 tonnes and tripled to more than 238,000 tonnes in the first half of calendar year 2015.

“U.S. market share is still low but the council is working to build demand for U.S. corn in this market,” Sifferath said. “We are educating buyers on the U.S. grading and contracting systems to help them get the quality they need. Logistics are another issue, but if volume increases, the logistics costs become more manageable.”