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USGC Re-engages in Evolving Algerian Market

by 5m Editor
1 November 2011, at 9:21am

ALGERIA - The US Grains Council is re-engaging in Algeria, where a long-established Council programme was shut down in the 1990s as Algeria’s civil war put operations and staff at risk.

"Our programmes continued to bear fruit after we pulled out," said Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director. "For a number of years, Algeria maintained its position as one of the top 10 export markets for US corn."

US market share has declined, however, over the past several years, in large part due to an Algerian misperception that Argentine corn produces better feed performance in poultry than US corn. Algerian poultry producers currently pay a premium as high as 10 per cent for Argentine origin corn even when there is no premium on the world market. Last year, US corn sales to Algeria dropped to just 100,000 metric tons (3.9 million bushels) from a high of 1.3 million tons (52.9 million bushels) in 2001/2002.

"We see the poultry sector as being the demand driver in corn," explained Mr Sifferath. "We are working now to identify viable market development partners."

A Council team from ONAB, Algeria’s quasi-governmental national poultry programme, recently traveled to Kansas State University for a short course on buying and pricing US corn and to meet with US suppliers of corn and DDGS. Algeria’s government recently put ONAB in charge of 30 per cent of the nation’s annual corn and soybean meal imports due to concerns about inconsistent supplies and price gouging.

"ONAB doesn’t share the misperceptions about the feed value of US corn," said Mr Sifferath. "We expect that working directly with ONAB and providing technical training on corn use in poultry will help us increase US market share and lead to greater price competition in the marketplace."

The Council’s work with ONAB may also pay off for DDGS exports, according to Mr Sifferath. "They have become a major supporter of efforts to lower Algeria’s 30 per cent import duty and 17 per cent value-added tax on DDGS imports. We hope to open the Algerian market for DDGS as we move into 2012."