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ISA LEADERS EXPLORE
EGYPTIAN MARKETS By Joseph L. Murphy With U.S. soybean exports forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are to be down by 250 million bushels this year, many farmers are looking for new markets that can lessen the sting of the trade war with China. Karey Claghorn, chief operating officer of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), and Lindsay Greiner ISA presidentelect, recently traveled to Egypt to explore how the country is using in-pond aquaculture system technology and learn about market possibilities for U.S. soybeans. Claghorn shared information about the trade mission and what it will mean for Iowa soybean farmers.
How did the trade mission come about and what key points were discussed? “One of the big interests in exploring this market was the fact ISA farmer leaders determined they were going to fund a worldwide aquaculture program through the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC). The program introduces technology for the in-pond 24 | OCTOBER 2018 | IASOYBEANS.COM
raceway systems — originally funded for demonstrations in China — to the rest of the world. Egypt was one of those focuses. “China and East Asia have been a focus for years, but I think North Africa is a part of the world that we need to begin learning more about. Their customs, their dietary habits and what’s driving demand are of interest to help us better understand the market. “There are 100 million people living in Egypt. The people are tied to Old World traditions that date back 5,000 years. Seafood and aquaculture are a part of that tradition and the Nile River is the lifeblood of that country. “Tilapia is the No. 1 species of fish produced there. They rank No. 8 in the world in fish production and typically No. 2 in tilapia production. They produce 1.87 mmt of fish currently and they expect to produce 2.2 mmt in the
near future. Up to now, the fish have been raised in traditional farm ponds but the government is investing in in-pond aquaculture and Karey other technologies to Claghorn improve growth rates, nutrition and water quality. The in-pond raceway technology is really important to the area.”
How does a mission like this help the Iowa soybean farmer? “We’ve got to expand markets and continue to look at other parts of the world that we haven’t really paid a lot of attention to in the past. There are good things happening, so it is important for farmer leaders and staff to attend the missions to learn more about these markets. The information is important to help inform the rest of the board when they are making decisions on where to invest farmer dollars to help expand markets.