US Grains Council officials attend agriculture trade mission in East Africa

Photo Credit: US Grain Council

Officials from the United States Grains Council staff (USDA), agribusiness and producer members, recently took part in the USDA agriculture trade mission (ATM) in East Africa.

Held in Nairobi, Kenya, and Zanzibar, Tanzania, the ATM shows the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA0 commitment to expanding and diversifying market opportunities globally for US agriculture.

Over 30 agribusinesses and farm organizations from across the US participated in the program together with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service team. Participants were able to meet directly with customers and potential importers of their commodities and products.

“It was a great opportunity for US businesses to strengthen or forge new relationships in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as regionally,” said Cary Sifferath, USGC vice president.

The mission provided a key opportunity for the Council to bring together US agribusiness and producer members to see firsthand the opportunities in East Africa – a long-term region of focus for the Council.

Three USGC member-leaders, USGC Secretary/Treasurer Verity Ulibarri; Jim Massey, USGC sorghum sector director; and John Hagios, vice president of feed ingredients at The Andersons and USGC Value Added Advisory Team leader, attended the ATM.

While in East Africa, the visiting team had the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders involved in the Council’s recently completed sorghum poultry feeding trials in Kenya.

In addition, a visit to the dairy farm where the Council is looking to conduct local feeding trials with DDGS took place – Kenya would be brand new market for DDGS should market access be realized.

With a population of more than 50 million people, Kenya remains one of the leading economies in East Africa. It is generally considered the economic, commercial and financial hub of East Africa.

During the mission in Nairobi, the Council conducted a series of side visits with key partners on the ground, including with the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA). The Council met with AKEFEMA to discuss recent developments in the Kenya feed industry to better understand the current state of the feed and livestock industry and to discuss opportunities for US feed grains use there.

Commodities of keen interest in Kenya include sorghum, yellow corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles, which can collectively serve as alternative feed grain ingredients in the market during times of shortage.

Held jointly with AKEFEMA, the Council hosted a feed grains industry roundtable with more than 50 AKEFEMA members to discuss US grain production and logistics as well as the nutritional advantages of using sorghum, DDGS and yellow corn in animal feed production.

“Our roundtable meeting with AFEFEMA allowed us to work on the capacity building within the Kenyan feed industry – that is a goal of AFEFEMA,” Sifferath said.

“In addition, we discussed overcoming the hurdles to get US feed grain products like sorghum, yellow corn and DDGS into Kenya for the feed industry to have access to these products from the US.”

Looking forward, the Council is excited to continue to partner with the Kenya feed industry to gain confidence and trust in US feed grains.

This will include moving forward with a DDGS QSP trial in Nairobi later this year as well as working with AKEFEMA to continue to support the local feed manufacturers to improve efficiencies and overall productivity through a series of feed manufacturing training programs.

The visiting US officials meet with Kenyan farmers recently.

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