The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) a grant for $1.3 million for the Regional Center for Feed Manufacturing for North Africa and the Middle East, to be headquartered in Tunisia.
“U.S. feed grain suppliers are facing increasing competition in the North African and Middle Eastern grain markets,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “As a result, the Council’s work in Tunisia is becoming more strategic, focusing on how to utilize training programs to help develop both the Tunisian feed industry as well as regional feed industry, while emphasizing the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and co-products.”
USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney announced the grant last week during the Council’s 15th International Marketing Conference and 58th Annual Membership Meeting in Houston, Texas.
The USDA grant follows an initial grant from the U.S. State Department, which led to the January signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Council, the National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia (INAT) and Iowa State University. Together, the organizations will establish a regional center to provide training for feed production and improved animal nutrition across all sectors of the feed industry.
The initial program will train a core team of 10 to 20 industry professionals, targeting nutritionists, feed millers and poultry, dairy, beef and aquaculture producers. This first team will later return to the Center for Feed Manufacturing to subsequently train 80 to 100 members of the next generation of feed industry leaders in Tunisia. The program will include intensive and extensive technical curriculum as well as activities meant to foster development and professionalism within the industry.
“Interest in this program is high as the feed industry continues to grow in Tunisia,” Taieb said. “With this training, we expect U.S. coarse grains and co-products to have a positive impact both in terms of U.S. exports and for cost, production and feed quality for the region.”
Longer-term, the Council expects to expand these training opportunities to feed industry professionals throughout the Middle East and Africa, which will boost compound feed production and stimulate demand for U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and co-products.
Learn more about the Council’s work in the region here.