“For the 50th time, Cigi’s International Grain Industry Program is welcoming key Canadian wheat customers from around the world,” said JoAnne Buth, chief executive officer (CEO) of Cigi. “We’re celebrating a milestone that has involved buyers of millions of tonnes of Canadian wheat over the past 44 years.”
Since 1973, soon after Cigi was established, more than 1,000 wheat customers from 81 countries on six continents have participated in the program. Until the early 1980s the then month-long program was offered twice a year. By the late 1980s it had evolved to an annual program lasting three weeks and by the early 1990s, two weeks.
“As Cigi’s flagship program, it has become a hallmark of Canadian wheat quality, focused on maintaining and enhancing our wheat markets through education and fostering customer relationships,” Buth said. “It has also provided an important foundation for our work with international customers, leading to the development of many other Cigi programs, technical exchanges and missions concentrating on specific markets.”
Since the International Grain Industry program began, customers have been invited to participate from top Canadian wheat markets such as Japan, Mexico and Indonesia, said Dean Dias, director of value chain relations at Cigi and co-chair of the 50th International Grain Industry Program.
“Various market criteria has been used as a basis for the invitations, covering representation from our largest wheat customers, recommendations from exporters that could include potential customers from emerging markets, and information from Cigi staff who work closely with customers worldwide,” he said.
Participants on the current program include senior representatives from trading organizations, mills and processing companies from Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.
At Cigi, the group will participate in classroom sessions and hands-on technical demonstrations with Cigi staff and industry representatives on Canadian grains and pulses. Topics include an introduction to the Canadian industry, wheat classes, inspection and grading, handling, transportation, marketing, and technology with a focus on quality analysis, milling, and end-use applications in baking, pasta and Asian products.
The program offers an opportunity for discussion between the participants and senior industry representatives from grower organizations, grain companies, Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.
While in Winnipeg, the participants also will tour a Manitoba farm, primary elevator, the CGC, and CMBTC facilities. The group will then travel to Vancouver, B.C., to visit the CGC, a terminal elevator, and Port of Vancouver.
“This program is a yearly opportunity for us to interact with both new and established customers,” Buth said. “We want to inform and reassure them that Canadian wheat provides the quality they are looking for and reaffirm that the industry is committed to maintaining high-quality standards and ongoing improvements.”
Cigi is an independent not-for-profit market development institute created in 1972. Cigi’s mission is to increase utilization of Canadian grain and field crops through knowledge, technical expertise, industry leadership and collaboration, innovative processing solutions and targeted training to customers around the world. More than 45,000 people from 115 countries have participated in Cigi programs and seminars.