Nigerian Wheat Buyers Impressed With Their Oklahoma VisitWed, 12 Jun 2013 18:34:40 CDT
Nine representatives from the top milling and food companies in Nigeria are in Oklahoma. They are part of a team traveling to four states to survey the new wheat crop. Nigeria is the second-largest buyer of U.S. wheat. One of the companies, Flour Mills of Nigeria, is the world's largest importer of winter wheat, shipped from its own export elevator in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Radio Oklahoma Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with the team on their visit to Oklahoma and spoke with Olumuyiwa Talabi. Talabi is a marketing consultant with U.S. Wheat Associates. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria. He says the hard red winter wheat grown in Oklahoma and the Southern Plains is very important to his country.
"It is because of the kind of bread Nigerians consume. We consume the big pan bread in which we use the hard red winter wheat to produce because hard red winter wheat is a hard wheat and it gives a very good gluten which rises. And Nigerians millers have found out that the hard red winter gluten is very suitable for the kind of bread they produce."
He said Nigeria has been the No. 1 importer of hard red winter wheat for the last seven years and he believes the country will continue to do so.
"I have been riding combines for the last five years, and every time is an experience." He said one of the things that impressed him the most was the friendliness of Oklahoma farmers.
He said members of his team were very surprised by the expanse of the wheat fields in Oklahoma. He said they wondered how individuals could come to own so much land. He said they were also very excited to see the technology employed especially the huge size of the combines and their computerization.
"It shows the huge difference between an American wheat farmer and a local Nigerian farmer. It's quite an experience. It will actually live in our hearts for a long time to come."
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