MANDAN, N.D. — The North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) will host a team of flour milling executives from Nigeria and South Africa on June 26-27. The team is visiting to learn more about hard red spring (HRS) wheat and durum production, quality, and availability. The two countries combined import an average of 80 million bushels of U.S. wheat, consisting of five different wheat classes. The bulk of region’s imports are hard red winter (HRW) wheat, with purchases of HRS and durum averaging about five million bushels in recent years.
The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sponsored team visited Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma prior to North Dakota and will end their trip in Minnesota. Traditionally a more price focused market, the price of imported milling wheat weighs heavily among buyers in the region and lower-priced competition from Russia and Europe has increased significantly in the past few years. However, the price of U.S. wheat is more competitive this marketing year, making this a good time to promote the value and benefits of U.S. wheat.
“We have worked hard to keep wheat buyers in our region well-informed about U.S. wheat quality because when the price is right, flour millers here will buy it,” said USW Regional Vice President Ed Wiese. For many years, Wiese has directed U.S. wheat promotion to 36 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from a regional office in Cape Town, South Africa. Consumers in Nigeria and South Africa prefer “high-loaf” pan bread, which is best produced with flour from medium protein sourced mainly from the central and southern Plains states. A growing pasta and instant noodle market that USW helped the Nigerian industry build over the years provides on-going demand for higher protein segments of U.S. wheat supplies. The NDWC will highlight the attractive pricing and traditional quality parameters for northern durum wheat during the team’s visit, touting its advantages in pasta products. South Africa is a smaller market than Nigeria, but annual per capita wheat consumption is the highest in the region at 139 pounds and domestic production usually only covers about half of their annual needs.
“While Nigeria and South Africa aren’t our largest customers for HRS and durum, Nigeria has proven to be a steady buyer, and there is definitely potential to expand opportunities,” says Erica Olson, NDWC marketing specialist. “With the growing pasta industry in Nigeria, durum is an attractive class for them. In fact, in recent years, Nigeria has been the third largest importer of U.S. durum. Providing the team with production updates and explaining the benefits of using high quality durum will be a top priority with this team,” she adds. HRS can also be an attractive class for the region for blending with cheaper wheat sources to upgrade flour quality. While in North Dakota the team will receive HRS and durum production and price outlooks, meet with HRS and durum researchers at NDSU, and visit the Northern Crops Institute.
— North Dakota Wheat Commission
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