Dec 04, 2019
By Karen Coble Edwards • From Fall 2019 American Soybean Magazine
WISHH’s trade team visits Zach Johnson’s Minnesota farm in addition to participating in a training course at the Northern Crops Institute. Zach, his father Nate and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council Director of Market Development Kim Nill shared the benefits of U.S. soybean production that contribute to quality feed and food ingredients.
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) summer 2019 U.S.-based training programs introduced 18 strategic partners from Central America, Asia and Africa to new ways to grow demand for feed or food products made with U.S. soy.
Multiple participants hold purchasing power in companies with $1 billion-plus food or feed product offerings while the government agency staff represented national nutrition programs that reach thousands of people.
Esi Amoaful, deputy nutrition director of the Ghanaian government’s public health agency, attended the 2019 training at the Northern Crops Institute and visited a Minnesota farm as part of the WISHH-organized program.
“I’m taking home with me the knowledge that we can literally dream anything in the area of food processing, and the technology and solid science is there to enable us to add soya to any food or beverage product,” Amoaful said. “We visited Zack Johnson’s farm, and we saw that technology and solid science are also on the soya farms. This allows U.S. farmers to grow soya with sustainable cropping practices, which preserves soya’s nutrients and benefits my people.”
Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Chairman Rusty Smith experienced his first face-to-face introduction to strategic partners in September when WISHH brought a group of Ghanaian feed and poultry industry representatives to the University of Arkansas for training and a feed nutrition conference. Ghana’s poultry industry has suffered from high production costs and low domestic consumption of eggs. Poultry and eggs that are more affordable, accessible and available to the Ghanaian consumer will drive demand, requiring imports of feed ingredients.
“With China so out of the market, we have to invest in other parts of the world,” said Smith. “The group seemed very interested in what the conference had to offer.”
The trade team members told Smith that Ghana currently uses soybean meal in poultry rations, but they’re interested in using more, including as a replacement for fish meal and other lesser-quality feed ingredients. With U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding, WISHH has implemented a poultry project in Ghana that trained farmers, feed millers and others on the value of consistently quality feeds.
WISHH works with the companies and other strategic participants before, during and after their U.S. training by leveraging Qualified State Soybean Board funding with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service programs. The trade teams reported that trainings drive their innovation and investments in livestock feeds, as well as food processing to make a wide array of soy-based foods ranging from tortillas to protein drinks, to yogurts and breads. WISHH also took participants to the ZFS Creston soy processing plant in Iowa and the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange & Specialty Grains Conference in Chicago.