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US wheat industry slams India for ‘serious trade distortions’, Australia and States run quinoa race

By Ben BOUCKLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Kevin Lallier/Flickr
Photo: Kevin Lallier/Flickr

Related tags: Cereal

US Wheat Associates attacks India over 'illegal' government subsidies, Australia and the States go quinoa crazy and Buhler appoints a new senior manager at its Grain Technology Center.

US Wheat Associates slams India and China subsidy regime

US Wheat Associates (USW) last Friday accused five influential countries of providing illegal wheat subsidies that it says have led to a global glut of cheap wheat.

Last Friday the export market development organization for the US wheat industry also took China, Turkey, Brazil and Thailand to task over new report findings from Washington-based DTB Associates.

USW sponsored this work, which it says indicates that the governments in these countries have dramatically increased trade-distorting subsidies for wheat, corn and rice over the past 10 years to levels that markedly exceed WTO agreements signed in the mid 1990s.

USW VP of policy Shannon Schlecht said: “What it shows is a massive increase in government sanctioned support prices and violations of Aggregate Measures of Support agreements that are distorting world trade in wheat, corn and rice.”

wheat chart

The USW released a chart (pictured left) showing what it described as a dramatic increase in current support price levels (the price at which governments purchase commodities) on a per country and commodity basis, compared with US reference prices.

Taking Indian wheat as an example, USW claims that illegal government subsidies encouraged over-production – since the minimum support price there rose 111% between 2005/6 and 2013/14, incentivizing farmers to produce more wheat, while the government cited a need for ‘food security’.

“That buoyed world wheat supplies and increased pressure on prices that hurt wheat farmers in other countries,”​ USW said, warning that it agreed with US agricultural negotiators that there was no possibility of concluding the ongoing Doha round of talks to lower trade barriers, unless such distorting subsidies were stopped.

Australia and US run ‘super food’ race with quinoa

Farmers in Australia and the US are racing to become large-scale exporters of quinoa to tap a gluten-free food market slated to be worth $6bn by 2018, Reuters reports.

The hardy crop sells for $3,000/tonne compared with wheat at under $300, as demand has grown by 300% from 2007 to 2012 according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data.

But the news agency reported yesterday that traditional producers in South America – Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Ecuador, are unable to meet rising Western demand for the grain, opening the door to international rivals.

Buhler appoint new Grain Technology Center manager

Buhler has appointed Rudolf Hofer as the new manager of its Swiss Grain Technology Center (GTC), which develops machines and processes for the industrial processing of grains and pulses.

Hofer took over the role from predecessor Uwe Schill at the start of this year and heads up a seven-person team.

The center’s technologies apply to everything from grain logistics, flour milling (grain), specialty milling, feed production and seed cleaning to food production (soups, cereals sugars), processing of spices and herbs and production of additives and ingredients such as baking aids.

Hofer describes himself as a ‘food generalist’ and it is the first time the GTC has not been managed by a head miller.

Originally trained as a cook, Hofer later studied food technology at university before landing a job in Buhler’s Chocolate & Cocoa business; he has also worked at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute – on analytical sensors and food quality and safety.

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