US sorghum ex­ports to China hit 19-year high

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

New USDA data shows that US ex­ports of sorghum to China reached a 19-year high in one week last month to meet Chi­nese de­mand for cheaper al­ter­na­tives to corn for live­stock feed, US sorghum ex­perts said.

Fig­ures re­leased by the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture on Mon­day showed that the US ex­ported 584,324 metric tons of sorghum in the week end­ing Dec 18. Of that, 332,867 metric tons went to China, which made up more than half the to­tal ex­ports.

US sorghum was ex­ported to China for the first time in Oc­to­ber last year and the coun­try’s de­mand for other live­stock feed op­tions has grown since the gov­ern­ment re­jected ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied ship­ments of corn. Beijing has since ap­proved one type of ge­net­i­cally-mod­i­fied corn, but in­ter­est in sorghum should re­main, said Wayne Cleve­land, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Texas Grain Sorghum Board.

“I fill like de­mand will con­tinue be­cause the qual­ity of sorghum is con­sis­tent. We have am­ple sup­plies to ad­dress the mar­ket and like any­thing we’ve be­come smarter in how we ship. The folks that are buy­ing it and ex­port­ing it have be­come smarter in how they do that,” he said.

l‘ I fi l like de­mand will con­tinue be­cause the qual­ity of sorghum is con­sis­tent. We have am­ple sup­plies to ad­dress the mar­ket and like any­thing we’ve be­come smarter in how we ship.” WAYNE CLEVE­LAND EX­EC­U­TIVE DI­REC­TOR OF THE TEXAS GRAIN SORGHUM BOARD

China cur­rently has a tar­iff rate quota (TRQ) of how much US corn can be im­ported into the coun­try, which Cleve­land said makes sorghum the bet­ter op­tion for China’s bud­get-con­scious im­porters. After 3 mil­lion metric tons of corn is im­ported into the coun­try with just value added tax, it will in­cur tar­iffs of up to 65 per­cent, mak­ing grain sorghum roughly $100 cheaper per metric ton.

China also has an in­ter­nal buy­ing mech­a­nism that makes it more ex­pen­sive for the gov­ern­ment to pay do­mes­tic corn pro­duc­ers than to im­port the corn from the US. The coun­try also doesn’t grow sorghum and re­lies on im­ports from other coun­tries.

“Sorghum re­quires a lot less wa­ter to grow and of course it’s a non-GMO prod­uct, which was a con­cern that the gov­ern­ment had,” Cleve­land said. “And with the China op­er­ates their in­ter­nal pro­grams for lo­cal grow­ers, it’s more prof­itable for their grow­ers to grow corn than sorghum,” and de­mand for crops from the US will con­tinue.

Florentino Lopez, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Sorghum Check­off, said that US sorghum as­so­ci­a­tions have been do­ing a lot of work ed­u­cat­ing the Chi­nese on the uses of sorghum as the coun­try’s de­mand for coarse grain grows.

“End users know how to uti­lize it in the proper fash­ion so they could ba­si­cally get the ben­e­fits they needed to from sorghum, just like other grain crops,” he said. The Sorghum Check­off pro­gram uses funds col­lected from sorghum pro­duc­ers to pro­mote and mar­ket the com­mod­ity.

Sorghum is also heav­ily used in the liquor in­dus­try in China as an in­gre­di­ent in bai­jiu, and about one-third of sorghum go­ing to China from the US is used in the pro­duc­tion of al­co­hol.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.