By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off.
Soybeans and sea food may seem like an odd combination; however, the aquaculture sector is a major customer for U.S. Soy, especially in Egypt. Chad Warner, a farmer from Darke County and member of the Ohio Soybean Council recently accompanied a group of fellow farmers from six other states and traveled with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to learn more about the market development efforts that are being funded by soybean check-off dollars.
“We just returned from a USSEC trip to Eqypt with a group from Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and New York,” said Warner. “Egypt is our third largest customer and one of the fastest growing markets. On the trip we observed a program called World Fish. It is a training program that teaches local participants about the aquaculture industry. Worldwide, aquaculture is the number one source of protein for human consumption followed by poultry. That is especially true in Egypt. We sold a little over 4 million metric tons of soy to Egypt last year.”
The World Fish program just graduated their 100th participant while the USSEC farmer group was there, and the farmers participated in the award ceremony. The farmers also toured several agriculture industry facilities including the largest feed mill in Egypt. “We visited a relatively new, state of the art feed mill that grinds 120 tons of soybeans an hour. It was very impressive,” said Warner. “We also toured a fish hatchery that starts sea bass, tilapia and shrimp. After that we went to Cairo University and had the opportunity to hand out certificates to students that went through and completed their poultry program.”
Maintaining international soy markets is also important and interacting with the international buyers on the trip allowed farmers to gain some interesting insights. “We had the opportunity to attend an industry dinner and visit with the largest grain buyer in Egypt and also a large poultry farmer that is also a grain buyer. We learned what they liked and didn’t like about U.S. Soy,” said Warner. “U.S. Soy has about 80% market share in Egypt because of our soybean quality. Our beans have the highest protein and best oil content for what they are after. We have established strong relationships and USSEC has great collaboration with the Egyptian agriculture industry.”