Ecuador’s imports of U.S. dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) increased 296% year over year to 22,200 metric tons in 2016-17, which the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said is the direct result of its work to introduce the feed grain co-product to the nation’s livestock sector.
“The Ecuadorian government has a corn self-sufficiency policy, effectively meaning any product labeled with the word 'corn' in its description is subject to import restrictions into the country," USGC explained. "However, in the past few years, the local corn crop has not been enough to cover domestic demand, resulting in expensive prices for local corn and the government issuing limited import permits.”
USGC said Ecuador still allows U.S. DDGS into the country, and it is still a relatively undervalued feed ingredient in the market. To seize on this potential demand, the council conducted a series of activities to introduce DDGS to the industry in Ecuador.
In May 2017, USGC organized a conference to provide technical information to poultry producers and members of a large buyers group in Ecuador. The group did not have experience using DDGS but bought a first shipment for July delivery. The same group confirmed a second shipment for November delivery and intends to become regular users.
“The council is utilizing its strong market development experience to support increased use of U.S. DDGS in Ecuador,” said Ana Maria Ballesteros, USGC marketing specialist in Latin America. “Following the success of this intensive effort to introduce U.S. DDGS, we expect more and more end users to purchase this important ingredient.”
The council’s efforts continued in November, when it organized a team of Ecuadorian livestock producers and ingredient distributors to travel to Minnesota and New Orleans, La., to gain information on the production process of DDGS, export logistics and nutritional information on using DDGS in poultry and swine diets.
The team represented small to midsize poultry, swine and dairy producers with current access to DDGS from five provinces in Ecuador. This program provided the team with valuable information regarding the use of DDGS in poultry and swine diets and helped them understand how DDGS is produced in the U.S. and how it is managed through the U.S. export system until reaching its destination in countries like Ecuador.
“Lots of questions were answered and helped the team gain a better understanding regarding usage of DDGS,” Ballesteros said. “We expect to create even more demand for U.S. DDGS with livestock producers in Ecuador.”
Moving forward, USGC said it will continue supporting increased use of DDGS in Ecuador by executing additional programs to provide nutritional information to livestock producers in the poultry, dairy and beef sectors.