U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently conducted a seminar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to introduce U.S. wheat and the U.S. marketing system to the Saudi Arabian wheat buying organization, Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO).

Conducted in cooperation with local USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service and State Department officials, the seminar was the first ever held exclusively with this new international wheat buyer, and was designed to build confidence in U.S. wheat crop quality, handling, and commercial reliability. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has decided to end domestic wheat production by 2016 and may eventually need to import more than 2.5 million metric tons (91 million bushels) of wheat per year.

“Competition for this market is intense,” said Dick Prior, USW regional vice-president, Cairo, Egypt.

“The Canadian Wheat Board monopoly is allowing select traders to offer comparable quality Canadian wheat at delivered prices well below what our exporters can offer so establishing the value of U.S. wheat with GSFMO is critical,” Prior said.

“As of Dec. 17, Saudi Arabia had purchased almost 60,000 metric tons (2.2 million bushels) of U.S. hard red winter wheat in marketing year 2009/10 (June-May).

Prior said the seminar was a full year in planning. With perseverance from the USW Cairo staff and strong personal support from GSFMO Director General Waleed Khureiji and U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Smith, about 20 GSFMO staff and Saudi authorities met at the GSFMO offices in Riyadh in late November.

USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries on behalf of America's wheat producers. The activities of USW are made possible by producer check-off dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

For more information, visit http://www.uswheat.org.