Since November, Cigi staff have travelled to 12 countries in Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, and the Middle East to meet with customers and discuss the quality of the Canadian wheat crop. Dave Burrows, Cigi Director of Farmer Relations and Communications, joined Cigi technical staff on the recent mission to Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
“The purpose of this trip was to educate customers of Canadian wheat about the characteristics of the latest crop so they can be assured their application will work for their products,” he says. “We talked to about 300 customers regarding milling, baking, and noodle production. This was the best turnout of customers since the inception of these new crop missions years ago. We were really happy to be able to convey the high quality of the Canadian crop to the people who are going to be buying it.”
Dave says that as well as having a lot of interest in the Canadian wheat crop, customers were eager to know that the Canadian marketing system is still in place in a de-regulated environment. “Some of these customers have been buying wheat for many years and there was a lot of interest in the expertise Cigi was able to bring. We also wanted to reassure them the Canadian wheat marketing system is alive and well and working for them. We went to great lengths to tell them about things they have come to rely on that are still in place such as variety registration and transportation, and that the high quality of the grain they have been accustomed to buying has not been compromised in the new environment.”
Overall, the mission to the six countries was very successful, he says. “The customers were enthusiastic about the quality of the Canadian wheat crop and confident their production needs would still be met with the changes made to the wheat marketing system.”
In January, Cigi staff will visit durum wheat customers in the North African countries of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.