ARLINGTON, Virginia — Quality control and purchasing managers from three Venezuelan flour mills will visit North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Ohio July 31 to Aug. 6, 2016, to learn more about the value of working with the U.S. wheat supply chain. With funding from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring this trade team in cooperation with the North Dakota Wheat Commission, Nebraska Wheat Board, Kansas Wheat Commission and Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program.
Chad Weigand, USW Assistant Regional Director for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, said U.S. wheat exports to Venezuela are not as strong as they once were, in part because increased government intervention and limited access to U.S. dollars have forced millers there to make cost a primary buying decision.
Venezuela imports durum, high protein spring wheat and soft red winter wheat. However, current market conditions there have given Mexican durum a competitive advantage. Canadian western red spring wheat has only recently come up in price to near parity with U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat, but the high U.S. dollar value continues to favor Canadian origin export prices. For the vibrant cookie and snack market in Venezuela, soft red winter grown in eastern Canada continues to compete with U.S. soft red winter (SRW).
Participants on this team represent some of the largest mills in Venezuela, but they do not have significant knowledge of U.S. wheat quality, its marketing system or federal inspection services.
“With key decision makers like these, we have to demonstrate why performance and value is worth more, but it is very difficult for our staff to conduct activities in Venezuela,” said Weigand. “By coordinating with our state wheat commissions, however, we can bring these customers to the United States to see our production and export system at work. That first-hand experience will help increase their confidence in U.S. wheat.”
Weigand, who is based in USW’s regional office in Mexico City, is leading the team, which includes Jenny Villasuso, Purchasing Manager for MONACA, the second largest milling group in Venezuela. Laura Paz is Purchasing and Quality Manager for Pastas Capri in Caracas, one of Venezuela’s largest pasta producers. Violeta Rosales is Purchasing Manager for Molinos Hidalgo, which operates a mill in Catia La Mar.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.
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