The Canadian International Grains Institute marked its 51th International Grain Industry Program starting July 9, when 22 customers from 14 countries arrived in Winnipeg, Canada, for two weeks of technical demonstrations, industry sessions and tours focused on Canadian wheat.
“For the 51th time, Cigi’s International Grain Industry Program is welcoming key Canadian wheat customers from around the world. We’re celebrating a milestone that has involved buyers of millions of tones of Canadian wheat over the past 44 years,” said JoAnne Buth, Cigi CEO.
Since 1973, soon after Cigi was established, more than 1,000 wheat customers from 81 countries on six continents have participated in the program. Until the early 1980s, the then month-long program was offered twice a year. By the late 1980s, it had evolved to an annual program that lasted about three weeks and by the early 2000s, two weeks.
“As Cigi’s flagship program, it has become a hallmark of Canadian wheat quality, focused on maintaining and enhancing our wheat markets through education and fostering customer relationships,” says Buth. “It has also provided an important foundation for our work with international customers, leading to the development of many other Cigi programs, technical exchanges and missions concentrating on specific markets.”
Since the International Grain Industry Program began, customers have been invited to participate from top Canadian wheat markets such as Japan, Mexico and Indonesia, says Dean Dias, Cigi director of value chain relations and co-chair of the 50th International Grain Industry Program.
“Various market criteria has been used as a basis for the invitations, covering representation from our largest wheat customers, recommendations from exporters that could include potential customers from emerging markets, and information from Cigi staff who work closely with customers worldwide,” he says.
Participants at the program this year included senior representatives from trading organizations, mills and processing companies from Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.
At Cigi, the group participated in classroom sessions and hands-on technical demonstrations with Cigi staff and industry representatives on Canadian grains and pulses. Topics include an introduction to the Canadian industry, wheat classes, inspection and grading, handling, transportation, marketing, and technology with a focus on quality analysis, milling, and end-use applications in baking, pasta and Asian products.
The program offered an opportunity for discussion between the participants and senior industry representatives from grower organizations, grain companies, Cereals Canada, the Canadian Grain Commission, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre.
While in Winnipeg, the participants visited a Manitoba farm, primary elevator, the CGC, and CMBTC facilities. The group then traveled to Vancouver BC to visit the CGC, a terminal elevator, and Port of Vancouver.
Cigi is an independent not-for-profit market development institute created in 1972, with the mission to increase utilization of Canadian grain and field crops.