Chinese Customers Discuss Sorghum Outlook With U.S. StakeholdersFri, 17 Jul 2020 13:12:44 CDT
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) connected key sorghum customers in China with U.S. sorghum industry stakeholders during a webinar last week focused on U.S. sorghum production, logistics and supply and demand factors.
"Continued engagement is really important for the Chinese market," said Reece Cannady, USGC manager of global trade. "This webinar was very timely as harvest is beginning in South Texas and is just around the corner throughout the rest of the sorghum belt."
Roughly 50 industry stakeholders from China attended the event as well as USGC staff in China and the United States and other U.S. sorghum industry representatives. Attendees had a lively discussion on the outlook for the 2020 U.S. sorghum crop - including concerns about drought - pricing and other topics.
"The Chinese buyers are watching the growing season as South Texas prepares to start their harvest," Cannady said. "In general, there is a lot of excitement from the farmer all the way to the end-user in China."
The Council maintains regular communication with Chinese importers and end-users. Due to COVID-19-related restrictions, USGC staff cannot conduct these sessions in-person so has focused on one-on-one virtual meetings with major importers.
"Every year we travel to China to check-in with major importers of U.S. sorghum," Cannady said. "We're going to replicate those visits over Zoom this year to keep our lines of communication open."
China has now exceeded the 2018/2019 year-end export total with 2.84 million metric tons (112 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum purchased thus far for the 2019/2020 marketing year. Additionally, China has purchased 305,000 tons (12 million bushels) of new crop U.S. sorghum for the 2020/2021 marketing year.
The uptick in purchases directly follows the effective date for the Phase One trade deal inked between the United States and China in January. The agreement includes a pledge to purchase up to $80 billion in agricultural goods over the next two years while also making structural changes that should provide U.S. grains and co-products improved access to the Chinese market over the long term.
Large sales of U.S. sorghum to China are welcome news for U.S. farmers and agribusinesses, though the need remains for consistent market development work by the Council and sorghum industry partners to promote the coarse grain for feed, food and even beverages like baijiu, a traditional Chinese alcoholic beverage.
Learn more about the Council's work to promote U.S. sorghum in China.
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