51st International Grain Industry Program: Knowledge gained and exchanged

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It brings together experienced buyers of Canadian wheat with potential customers looking to learn more about Canada’s grain industry and crop quality and functionality. Cigi’s International Grain Industry Program was held for the 51st time over a two-week period in July providing participants with a unique learning experience that extends from the classroom and Cigi’s technical facilities to farmers’ fields, primary and export terminals to countless discussions over breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“One of the benefits of this program is how the participants can learn as much from each other as they do from meeting with Cigi and industry experts from across the supply chain,” says Dean Dias, Director of Value Chain Relations at Cigi.

“When you have participants from countries with a long history of using Canadian wheat such as Japan alongside participants from Myanmar and Lebanon, who don’t have that same familiarity, there’s a lot of informal learning that takes place,” says Dean. “They get firsthand information directly from other buyers and users and that’s what makes this program even more valuable.”


Participants from long-established markets have as much to gain from the program as it is often used as a development opportunity for those who may be moving into more senior roles within their companies. “They may be the ones making the purchasing decisions in the future so this gives them that insight into how the Canadian industry works and what’s new or on the horizon.”

There were 19 participants on this year’s program from China, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, Philippines, Senegal, Singapore, Switzerland and Canada. The group included flour mill and production managers, commodity specialists, traders and those responsible for managing their companies’ supply chain and purchasing areas.

51st International Grain Industry Program participant and Milling Head Imad Talil talks about his experiences during week one of the program. Imad, who is originally from Morocco, represents Olam International and he is based in Senegal.

Highlights from the Program

During the program, Cigi’s Viterra Knowledge Centre classroom was home base for many presentations from industry representatives, but the group also spent plenty of time in Cigi’s technology facilities talking with staff about practical applications of Canadian wheat.

Cigi Facilities

  • Natalie Middlestead talking about gluten tests in Analytical Services.

Farm Tour

Dustin Wiens (left) of Wiens Prairie Acres Ltd. gave participants a great tour of his farm and what he is growing this year. Dustin answered many questions from the group about Canadian farming practices, the size and scope of his operation and the equipment used.

Grain Elevator Tours

The participants visited Richardson Pioneer grain elevator outside of Winnipeg, as well as Cargill’s terminal elevator in Vancouver.

Canadian Malting Brewing Technical Centre (CMBTC)

CMBTC staff gave an overview of their activities plus a tour of their facilities. During the tour of the pilot brewery some of the participants enjoyed a taste test!

Closing Reception

Nearing the end of the program, participants traveled west where they enjoyed a brief visit to Alberta which included stops in Banff and Lake Louise. It was then on to Vancouver to tour the Canadian Grain Commission offices and a grain export terminal. They finished the program with a harbour cruise for their closing dinner.