Art Wosick travels with soybean council to Indonesia, Vietnam
Trip promotes export of state’s commodity
Trip promotes export of state’s commodity
One of the goals of the North Dakota Soybean Council is to promote North Dakota grown soybeans worldwide. In January, the council conducted a trade mission to Vietnam and Indonesia to acquaint team members with different markets in an effort to determine customer needs, while promoting the quality North Dakota soybean producers have to offer.Art Wosick of rural Minto, who is the North Dakota Soybean Council director for District 7, was part of the delegation which traveled to the Southeast Asian countries. He was accompanied by four other state directors, Vanessa Kummer of Colfax who is the vice chairman of the United States Soybean Council, Kummer’s husband Paul and the trip organizer, Peter Mishek of Mishek, Inc. out of Omaha, Neb., associated with AGP Incorporated, a large exporter of soybeans.
According to Wosick, AGP has traders located in many countries in Southeast Asia where most of the soybeans imported are used by feed mills to produce feed for livestock, and on a larger scale for aqua farms (fish farms). The delegation met with existing customers, potential customers and soybean traders as part of the trade mission.
Their first stop was in Hanoi to visit the Hung Phat Feed Mill. The feed mill produces about 4,000 metric tons (mt) of feed a month. In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Austfeed Company which produces about 100,000 mt of feed per year. The company has two mills in Vietnam and is opening a third later this year. That evening, the delegation from North Dakota had a dinner meeting with the feed mill executives, trading companies and embassy officials.
According to Wosick, the Hung Phat Feed Mill did not use soybeans imported from the U.S. this year because of the price. The mill is currently purchasing much of their soybeans from Argentina, because of a cheaper market price. In the past, the price of soybeans imported from the United States has generally been about $15-$20 a ton higher than Indian beans. The cost is now $60-$80 per ton higher. Because of the large number of feed mills in the country the market is very competitive. The exchange rate on the U.S. dollar is also very high, contributing to the need to purchase soybeans from other countries.
“In Indonesia, they love our soybeans for the quality,” Art said. “The Vietnam market is more concerned with the price.”
Fifteen years ago, Vietnam imported less than 90,000 mt of soybean meal and 30,000 mt of soybeans. The country is now the largest importer of soybean meal in Asia at approximately 2.8 million tons and also imports 400,000 mt of whole soybeans.
The second day of the tour took the group to An Phu Linh, one of the large container soybean importers in North Vietnam, where they observed the storage, cleaning and bagging of soybeans imported by container and sold into the local market in Phu Xuyen. They then visited Phu Dat, a large feed company in the province of Thai Bin and were impressed by the modern technology incorporated at both locations.
“Most of the facilities were real modern. The people are hard workers who run. There’s nobody lazy there,” Wosick said. “The average wage for those workers is only about $150 a month.”
The feed mills may have used modern technology, but that was not the case in the fields where Wosick said he never saw a tractor. He only saw one rice combine throughout the two weeks of travel.
The last stop of the day was at Lam Son Company, a soybean processor specializing in soybeans for human consumption – usually tofu or soy milk, where the main concerns of the executives were the foreign material in the soybeans they purchased from a company in New Jersey, as well as the color change of the soybean meat when purchased later in the United States crop year or in beans that had been stored. They purchase all soybeans in containers and expressed their first criteria is the quality of the bean, then the price when determining whom to buy from.
A trip to Nha Trang the next day took the group to the Long Sin Limited Company, an aqua feed company located adjacent