Trade mission opens up biscuit wheat market
- Credit: Archant
East Anglian farmers are being urged to grow more wheat after a group joined a trade mission to north Africa championing UK cereals.
The exports mission and levy payer study tour, organised by cereals levy payers’ organisation HGCA, was hoping to open up Morocco’s soft biscuit wheat market.
In 2013/14, the north African country imported around 3.8million tonnes of milling wheat, 15,000 tonnes of which, worth around £2.3million, came from the UK. 2014/15 is the second season of UK biscuit wheat exports to Morocco.
For the first time the annual mission was joined by a study group of HGCA levy payers from East Anglia, led by HGCA regional manager Tim Isaac, with funding from the Rural Development Programme for England.
“The Moroccan milling industry really values the quality and traceability of our wheat,” he said.
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“Our group of East Anglian growers learnt so much from this trip in terms of Moroccan farming, their food requirements and their culture, but also from each other. The discussions on the coach between visits were almost as valuable as the meetings themselves – a rare opportunity to exchange ideas and share experiences; something we hope to replicate with the Monitor Farm programme.”
The visit built on the success of previous biscuit-making workshops, which helped 7,500 tonnes biscuit wheat imports to be allowed into Morocco for the first time in 2013, worth around £1.2m. This season, to the end of September 2014, around 7,654 tonnes of biscuit and bread wheat have already been exported to Morocco.
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HGCA exports manager Sarah Mann said: “We need more UK growers to grow uks (soft biscuit) wheat.”
There was an increasing demand for it, and a consistent supply was needed to meet this, she added.
Stowmarket farmer Brian Barker, who was on the tour, said: “It became increasingly clear that the challenges their vital agricultural industry faces are very similar to our own – volatility in prices and weather and increasing demands on their land. The whole population in Morocco seemed to understand and appreciate the value of producing a consistent supply of the basic foods required for a healthy diet.”