Grain News

Philippine Wheat Team to Visit North Dakota

Date Posted: August 12, 2014

North Dakota wheat producers will be hosting one of their top hard red spring wheat customers on August 13 in Fargo, working to keep the more than 90 percent market share enjoyed in the Philippines.

Representatives of five key milling companies will visit North Dakota State University, the Northern Crops Institute and a regional shuttle train loading facility.

All five of the team members hold key management positions in their companies, including marketing, business development, and research and development.

The trade visit will help them develop a better understanding of the U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat region and the ability of our producers to provide the quality and supplies they need.

According to Manila-based Joe Sowers, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) assistant regional director for South Asia, who is travelling with the team, "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 companies 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."

The Philippine economy is one of the fastest growing in Asia and flour consumption is anticipated to increase in the near term.

A sign of that confidence is the fact that four new mills are under construction, the first in more than 30 years.

The Philippines was the number one U.S. HRS export market in the 2013 marketing year with purchases of more than 43 million bushels.

This was about 13 percent ahead of their five-year average, and placed them ahead of Japan which is typically the top market.

The Philippines represents the fifth largest market for all classes of U.S. wheat, based on a five-year average, and U.S. producers have enjoyed four straight years of greater than 90 percent market share.

Francis Leiphon, Crary area producer, and North Dakota Wheat Commission Chairman, says "It is a privilege to host representatives of the Philippine wheat milling industry.

"They have proven to be an excellent trade partner and customer for our wheat, helping us establish a stable export market and stronger prices for our producers."

Somewhat unique for Asia, one-half of wheat flour is used for bakery products in the Philippines, followed by noodles and cookies / crackers at roughly 20 percent each.

HRS is the largest class of wheat imported by the Philippines, preferred by millers and bakers for its protein content and gluten quality.

While in Fargo, staff from the NDWC will provide the group with an update on the 2014 crop, and they will also receive briefings on varietal development and HRS quality trends.

"The strong gains in HRS exports to the Philippines in recent years are the result of excellent trade service provided by U.S. Wheat staff," noted Leiphon.

He added, "While a success story for market development, it also raises the bar to make sure we are taking the needed steps in research, production and marketing, to continue to earn that market share."

The team will also make stops in Oregon, Washington and Kansas.

For more information, call 701-328-5111.

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