American Soybean Association (ASA) President Wade Cowan has confirmed the election of ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) officers and committee members for 2015-2016, including Steve Reinhard from Crawford County with the Ohio Soybean Council.
“I want my fellow soybean farmers to know that WISHH is important because it lays the groundwork for our future,” Heinen said. “U.S. soybean growers send WISHH as their trailblazer for trade. WISHH teaches people in their own countries about how to use soybeans in animal feed rations as well as human foods.”
In the early 2000s, forward-thinking U.S. soybean leaders in multiples states recognized that the growing protein demand in developing countries was a driver for their soybean sales. Well-researched studies showed that most future growth in food demand would be in developing and middle-income countries where populations and incomes were both on the rise.
Today, the trends are even clearer, proving that WISHH-founding farmers planned well. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other economic analysis, developing countries dominate world demand growth for agricultural products. USDA projects developing countries’ demand for agricultural products will increase faster than their production. As a result, these countries will account for 92 percent of the total increase in world oilseed and meat imports in 2013-2022.
Through WISHH, U.S. soybean farmers diversify their marketing investments. At the same time, WISHH creates economic opportunities in developing countries as they strengthen their agricultural and food supply chains. Lifting low-income consumers out of poverty is the most important factor in future global demand for food. As the world moves toward approximately 9 billion people in 2050, most protein demand growth will come from developing countries. WISHH helps developing country businesses become more profitable by blending U.S. soy into breads, beverages, meats and more for humans as well as feeds for livestock and aquaculture. In addition to making money, WISHH’s supply chain partners help fill the protein gap that exists in many developing country populations’ diets.
WISHH and the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) pave complementary trade routes that grow U.S. soy markets. On Oct. 1, 2015, WISHH will transition its Bangladesh operations to USSEC since the country’s annual U.S. soy purchases have now reached more than $2 million. USDA funding aided WISHH in forging key relationships with organizations like the Bangladesh Bakery Association that signed a February 2015 agreement to conduct soy flour trials under a USDA Quality Samples Program.
After the transition, USSEC will build on WISHH’s work in the human food sector. WISHH will continue pursuing non-soybean farmer funding for work in Bangladesh, especially in aquaculture and livestock, and collaborate with USSEC for project implementation.