Executives directly involved in making wheat purchasing decisions for five flour milling and wheat food companies in Peru are visiting farms, research projects and U.S. wheat export system facilities this week.
U.S Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring this trade team with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service and Agricultural Research Service, state wheat commissions in Oregon, Idaho and Kansas and private exporters. The team arrived Sunday and will be here through June 28.
Peru produces only a small amount of wheat and has imported an average of about 55.6 million bushels, or about 1.5 million metric tons, annually for the past five years. U.S. commercial sales to Peru, including hard red winter, soft red winter and soft white wheat classes, have increased during each of the past three marketing years (June – May) and have grown from 20.8 million bushels in 2009/10 to about 36.8 million bushels in 2010/11.
"Depending on prices, there is still room to increase the imports of some U.S. wheat classes for blending purposes by replacing wheat imported from Europe or Argentina," said Alvaro de la Fuente, USW regional vice president for South America, who has worked on behalf of U.S. wheat producers for more than 34 years. "This trip will help us demonstrate how U.S. wheat better meets the needs of these experienced buyers who represent about 66 percent of Peru's imports."
In addition, USW is targeting Peru's artisan bread market, which has the highest level of consumption and more potential impact on U.S. wheat sales to Peru as a replacement mainly for Canadian spring wheat imports.
The Peruvian wheat buyers will have a field to port experience. Their trip includes farm or country elevator visits in Oregon, Idaho and Kansas, a stop at the Kansas City Board of Trade, a complete Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) certification system overview and export elevator tours in Portland, Ore., and New Orleans.
Joining de la Fuente on this trip are: Jimmy Suni, chief executive officer of flour miller and food producer Molitalia; Pablo Noboa, risk manager director, and Alvaro Campos, vice president of industrial products, for Peru's largest food company and flour miller Alicorp; Luis Fernando Falcon, chief of operations for flour miller Molinera del Centro; and Edgard Berry, finance and administration manager for flour and feed miller Cogorno, which also manufactures pasta.