Eight representatives from one of the United States' top customers for wheat, Nigeria, are in Kansas and Nebraska this week to survey the current hard red winter crop and obtain firsthand information on crop quality, supply and demand.
Members of the Nigerian trade team, sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates, represent some of the largest milling companies in Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country that has imported all six classes of wheat and was the top overall buyer of U.S. wheat in 2009/10.
USW organized the annual trade team visit in cooperation with the Nebraska Wheat Board and the Kansas Wheat Commission. During their visit, team members will meet directly with wheat producers on and off the farm, tour wheat research facilities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Kansas State University and discuss operations and outlook with other wheat industry representatives.
In addition to its educational value, trade teams can also provide specific opportunities to increase demand for U.S. wheat. For example, as result of contacts made on a trade team visit in 2008, Flour Mills of Nigeria, the world's second largest miller, began importing U.S. hard white wheat to produce specialty blended flour. Today, Flour Mills of Nigeria is the world's leading hard white wheat importer, purchasing 140,000 MT in 2009/10 in addition significant amounts of hard red spring, soft red winter, hard red winter and durum.
"We have a very good working relationship with the Nigerians," said USW Sub-Sahara African Regional Vice President Ed Wiese. "Knowing cultures, getting to know people on a personal basis, adds a lot to the type of work that we do. It's one important addition to the nuts and bolts type of work that we do every day."
USW opened an office in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2001. This in-country presence and a long-term commitment to technical training and exchanges have combined to build strong Nigerian loyalty to U.S.-origin wheat.
For more information, view the "U.S. Wheat and Nigeria: A Trade Success Story" video at http://bit.ly/mtuNcV or the "Export Market Development: A Vital Partnership with U.S. Wheat" video at http://bit.ly/mO62Le.
USW is the industry's market development organization working in more than 100 countries on behalf of America's wheat producers. The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission.