The Illinois Soybean Association’s Market Development Committee members recently visited top soybean importers in Columbia and Panama.
Market Development Committee Chair Scott Gaffner, and committee members Mark Read, Tim Scates and ISA staff members Eileen Urish, Todd Main, and Stephen Sostaric began the trade mission in Panama with a visit to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal.
Approximately 600 million bushels of U.S. soybeans travel through the Panama Canal annually. Recent improvements made to the canal increased the efficiencies in the transportation of U.S. soybean products.
The remainder of the trip was spent traveling across Columbia. Columbia is on track to become the world’s second largest importer of U.S. soybean meal behind the Philippines, thanks to Columbia’s robust domestic animal and aquaculture industries.
ISA representatives also visited key meal customers in Piscicola New York, an aquaculture farm where they raise tilapia for the U.S. market using in pond raceway systems (IPRS) .
The ISA team also visited Daabon in Santa Marta where they saw an impressive vegetable oil processing and packaging facility as well as their port.
While in Medallin, the group met with Pork Columbia to discuss potential support ISA can offer the pork industry in Columbia.
The week wrapped up with a tour of Grupo Bios facility and dinner with Solla Animal Nutrition, another importer and user of U.S. soy for animal feed.
Overall, it was a successful trade mission to investigate potential opportunities for the future of Illinois soy and a unique opportunity for farmers to see their products in use.