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Nigerian wheat trade team visits Colorado


A trade team of wheat importers from Nigeria arrived in Colorado June 24. While in Colorado, they toured Starkebaum Farms near Haxtun, where they had lunch with local wheat farmers and members of the grain trade. The trade team also toured the Commerce City Grain unit train loading facility, ConAgra Flour Milling Company, and the M&M Cooperative unit train loading facility in Yuma.

The trade team consisted of general managers and senior level decision-making executives from all of the leading flour-milling groups in Nigeria.

"The trade team was very enthused about meeting producers and hearing about the growing conditions and climate they have to deal with," said Richard Starkebaum, President of the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee. "They also expressed interest in purchasing hard white wheat. One of the mills would take up to 1.5 million bushels of hard white wheat. That is 3,900 bushels a day. It is important for producers to realize that countries like Nigeria are major wheat-buying customers, and they import a great deal of wheat."

Nigeria has been the largest buyer of U.S. hard red winter wheat for seven consecutive years and during the recently completed 2008-09 marketing year purchased 2.127 million metric tons (78.2 million bushels). They were the second largest buyer of U.S. all-wheat (which includes HRW) in the 2008-09 marketing year with purchases of 2.661 million metric tons (97.8 million bushels). To put these numbers in perspective, the 10-year average for the Colorado winter wheat crop is 63.8 million bushels.

The fact finding tour was sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates, of which CWAC is a member state organization, and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. The trade team visit is part of an on-going process of keeping the Nigerian milling industry informed and familiar with the U.S. wheat supply system. The team is interested in current and projected wheat production levels and current and estimated harvested wheat quality. They came to the U.S. to visit and discuss with various state wheat commission officials whether sufficient quantities of U.S. wheat will be available for export due to decreasing wheat acreage. The visit also included meeting with a number of wheat producers to view their respective farms, as well as meeting with the grain trade, and participating in discussions on the current status and future of U.S. biotech wheat.

The trade team consisted of Jerry Omoruyi, General Manager, Bendel Feeds and Flour Mills Ltd.; Adebowale Agbonyin, Finance and Strategies, BUA Flour Mills.; Wolfgang Heinz Buge, Commercial Director, Crown Flour Mills, Ltd.; Ayodeji Adegoroye, Senior Project Supervisor, Honeywell Four Mills; Dowan Jordaan, Maintenance Coordinator, Honeywell Four Mills; Olufunmilola E. Olorunwa, Treasurer, Lister Flour Mills; Dr. Mama Camara, General Manager, Mix & Bake Flour Mills; Olumuyiwa Talabi, Technical Consultant, U.S. Wheat Associates/Lagos; and Gerald Theus, Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Wheat Associates/Cape Town.

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