Historically, distiller's dried grains with solubles has been an unknown product throughout Jordan and the Middle East. Promotion of DDGS in the Middle East has two significant obstacles. Ethanol has been viewed with suspicion as a possible competitor to Middle Eastern oil and DDGS has been seen as an offshoot of the forbidden alcohol trade. However, two years of marketing efforts by U.S. grain farmers, bolstered by Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program funds, have raised the positive profile of U.S. DDGS in the region.
Last month, these efforts were realized as the first commercial shipment of U.S. DDGS to Jordan arrived in Aqaba, Jordan.
In order to gain a foothold in this market, the U.S. Grains Council escorted teams from throughout the region to the United States for DDGS conferences, meetings with U.S. exporters, and field visits to corn farms and ethanol plants. The Council also conducted a 60-day DDGS feeding trial with Hammoudeh, Jordan's largest milk producer and poultry integrator. The tests, which were the first of their kind in the Middle East, showed DDGS improved both milk production and cost savings on feed ingredients.
Following the trials, Bovine & Ovine, a regional dairy and agricultural publication written in Arabic and English, featured the Hammoudeh feed trial's use of U.S. DDGS and provided information on the benefits of making DDGS a major part of daily feed rations. This article ensured the information reached far beyond those individuals who attended the trials.
As word of the benefits of U.S. DDGS spread throughout the region, importers and end-users clamored to see DDGS included on import subsidy lists, a promising sign for exports to the region. Through April, 2011, exports of U.S. DDGS to the Middle East region have grown to 107 thousand metric tons, a 54% rise over last year. Furthermore, these exports were valued at over $23 million.
As exports of U.S. DDGS to the Middle East continue to expand, the Council believes that the Middle East region has the potential to import upwards of two million metric tons of DDGS per year while opening the door for other U.S. farm commodities.