Adapting to the Constantly-Changing Global Marketplace Will Benefit Oklahoma FarmersWed, 08 Aug 2012 10:40:52 CDT
The global market place is a constantly changing landscape that must be carefully analyzed and adapted to says Dr. Patricia Rayas Duarte. Duarte spoke at the Oklahoma Wheat Commission’s 2012 Wheat Review at Redlands Community College in El Reno.
Duarte is a cereal chemist at Oklahoma State University, but she recently examined how the quality of Oklahoma wheat affects its marketability across the globe. She recently spent time in Israel and has closely examined the role Asian markets will play in the marketing of Oklahoma grain.
In her visit to Israel, Duarte said, officials say they perceive a downward trajectory in the quality of grain received from the United States. She said the Israelis are currently sourcing grain from the Black Sea region that is immaculately clean. When compared with shipments received from the U.S., officials said there was a vast difference.
Duarte took the perception as a challenge and examined the testing equipment used by the Israelis. Her sleuthing with the equipment’s manufacturer showed the equipment to be out of date and not nearly as reliable as that which is currently available. Even so, Duarte said, the purchaser’s perception of quality is ultimately what fuels buying decisions. She said it would be beneficial for U.S. grain marketers to examine our quality standards to ensure that only the highest quality wheat is delivered to foreign markets.
During her trip to Israel, Duarte said she was also fascinated by one of the largest bakeries in the country. She said it was a vertically-integrated operation from the farm all the way to the market. The company researched and developed its own proprietary wheat variety, mills its own flower in environmentally-isolated facilities and turns out over 2,000 loaves per hour. Many of those loaves are specialty loaves including various other grains, nuts, pre-germinated wheat, and seeds.
The United States also needs to pay attention to emerging markets she said. The countries of China and India with their enormous populations will come to dominate marketing decisions in the near future. Demographics will assure that. China alone has 1.5 billion people which accounts for 22 percent of the world’s population. Southeast Asia overall holds 38 percent. As these rapidly-growing economies import more and more products, their tastes will shape supplies. Duarte said the Japanese diet is already shifting away from fish and more toward meat and dairy. “When China moves to change biotechnology standards, it will change the world,” she said.
Duarte said that southern states which grow grain like Oklahoma will benefit from the widening of the Panama Canal which is now occurring. When complete, it will shorten the sea route from Gulf ports to Asia. Oklahoma grain will then be even more competitive on world markets.
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