Wheat classification system aids UK exports

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wheat, International trade, United kingdom

A new, simplified wheat classification system designed to help the
UK compete directly with other global wheat suppliers is bringing
in results, with a breakthrough agreement that could see
substantial quantities of UK grain shipped to Egypt over the next
five years.

The agreement, signed last week by the UK's Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) and the Egyptian state buying organisation, GASC, has taken over two years of extensive talks to be completed.

The new wheat classification system, which was launched last November, categorises British wheat into two main brands: ukp - a blend of semi-hard varieties to suit both EU and non-EU bread making, and uks - a blend of soft varieties, well known throughout the EU for their biscuit making and bread blending characteristics, especially when blending with hard high protein wheats.

Emma Jackson, of HGCA British Cereal Exports, said: "Potential and existing customers of UK wheat have requested a simple system that they can trust to give them confidence that what they are buying will meet their expectations. The customer will now have a system for easily understanding the technical properties of the wheat they are buying."

The agreement with Egypt offers growers in the UK the chance to profit from the lucrative Egyptian market where wheat consumption is estimated at 12.8 million tons and sustained by between six and seven million tons of imports, making the nation the world's second largest buyer.

Egypt already imports the majority of its wheat from the US, France and Australia, providing tough competition for UK firms.

"It is important that this is seen as the first stage towards opening the market in Egypt. We are delighted to be signing this agreement, but there will still be a lot of commercial work to be done by UK traders to bring the terms to fruition,"​ said Andrew Flux, assistant director of crop marketing at the HGCA.

The Egypt deal is part of the UK's long-term project to open up North African markets for UK grain.

Other markets being targeted include Morocco and Tunisia, which both have a majority demand for bread-making wheat. The UK has used the wheat classification system to promote its ukp bread making wheat to these countries.

Related topics: Ingredients

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