The Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP), administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, is intended to help U.S. agricultural exporters develop new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers. One of the ways U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is applying ATP funds is to expand its ability to conduct technical support to wheat buyers and end users in rapidly growing South Asian markets.
USW has had a long-term effort to help customers improve their products and processes through technical support because inexperience in developing market milling and food production sectors can be a constraint to demand for U.S. wheat. In the highly sophisticated wheat food industries in Japan, Korea and other countries, USW’s long-term investment has benefited customers and consumers while establishing strong and consistent export markets for U.S. wheat producers.
In such markets as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, the imported wheat customer base is expanding, and USW saw a need to increase its technical capabilities to match the growth. At the same time, USW knew that would require additional technical staff and needed to prepare for natural transitions for some senior technical experts.
The addition of ATP funding gave USW the opportunity to add a new Bakery Technician position to work with customers across the South Asian region. Mr. Adrian Redondo, an experienced food technologist and account manager, joined USW in June 2019. He is training with his experienced colleagues and building customer contacts through 2021 when the senior USW bakery consultant based in the Philippines plans to retire. Without additional ATP funding, USW would have had to fund a new technician position from a more limited pool of resources that would, in effect, cut its ability to fund customer activities.
South Asian imports of U.S. hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat from family farms in the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains have grown from an average of about 3.0 million metric tons (MMT) per year 10 years ago to about 5.0 MMT in 2018/19. Future demand for wheat foods is expected to keep growing in the region.
ATP funding provides a wide range of additional opportunities to continue differentiating U.S. wheat in markets like those in South Asia, with no local wheat production and where increasing incomes and urbanization are driving a rapid expansion of wheat food demand.