December 21, 2011

US Corn Mission perceives Vietnam's market potential

Participants of the US Grains Council's Corn Mission were encouraged on the rapidly increasing entrepreneurial spirit witnessed in Vietnam on future opportunities for US agricultural products.

Nine US producers and corn organisation staff recently travelled to Japan, China and Vietnam for a firsthand look at the challenges of developing and defending export markets and to share insights on the US 2011 crop supply and quality.

Participants met with international customers, key foreign government officials and the Council's foreign-based international staff.

Vietnam is the fastest growing feed market in Asia. Although Vietnam mostly fills its corn needs with domestic and nearby country imports, the group still felt encouraged by the market potential.

"The drastically changing consumer habits will increase grain demand in Vietnam. We need to continue to educate Vietnamese buyers and farmers on benefits of buying from the US," said Pat Feldpausch, mission participant and president of the Corn Marketing Programme of Michigan.

"The US has a dependable system that provides transparency and risk management. We are a consistent supplier and buyers get better value for their purchases. Buying corn from nearby countries or from Ukraine is a risk. You may get a bargain but it's a gamble."

The group had the opportunity to see a Council programme in action at the local feed mill where USGC Consultant Budi Tangendjaja was conducting a seminar on the use and application of US distiller's dried grains with soluble (DDGS).

Paul Herringshaw, mission participant and vice-chair of the Ohio Corn Marketing Programme, said, "Vietnam has agile users of US DDGS. It's a good product that helps every diet. It's a great way to move protein at lower moisture, and it's replacing Indian soy meal and other competitive ingredients. We need to continue market education to increase the product moving into the country."

In 2010, Vietnam became the 15th largest market for US agricultural products. US agricultural exports to Vietnam grew fivefold from a mere US$216 million in 2006 to US$1.3 billion in 2010. Vietnam is the eight largest market for US feedstuffs, doubling over the past two years and valued at US$151 million in 2010.

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