China signs agreement to import Argentine sorghum

LUBBOCK, Texas – China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) signed an agreement with the Argentine minister of agriculture Nov. 24, 2014, indicating China will begin importing sorghum from an approved list of Argentine companies.

The agreement included the inspection and quarantine requirements for imported sorghum from Argentina as well as a published list of 25 registered Argentine companies allowed to export sorghum to China. While no start date for the agreement is specified, it appears as though it will begin immediately.

“Argentina’s supply alone cannot meet the growing needs of China’s sorghum demand,” Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Lopez said. “Efforts by the Sorghum Checkoff and the U.S Grains Council have helped U.S. sorghum become a valued feed ingredient and will assure U.S. sorghum remains so into the future.”

Lopez said an increase in world sorghum demand helps promote sorghum in general, and Argentina exports will help competition of U.S. sorghum in other markets both domestically and internationally.

“This can be a turning point for U.S. sorghum,” Lopez said. “China’s demand and potential price shifts will help increase overall demand for sorghum and industry growth while also allowing the checkoff to share more information about U.S. sorghum.”

According to a recent report from the Foreign Agricultural Service, China imported 569 million bushels of coarse grains last marketing year. Of the total bushels, 169 million were reported as U.S. sorghum.

Sorghum appears to be in even stronger demand this marketing year, which began Sept. 1, 2014. In fact, the most recent FAS export sales report indicated sorghum sales have surpassed 166 million bushels, of which China represents 84 percent of the total commitments. The Nov. 28, 2014, reporting period signified a marketing year high for sorghum, with commitments for the week reaching 18 million bushels.

If China continues to increase the amount of sorghum they buy, Lopez said it will reduce their dependency on other coarse grains. He said with China’s current policies against unapproved traits, sorghum should benefit due to its non-transgenic qualities.