June 4, 2009

From Garrison to South Africa

From Garrison to South Africa
By HEATHER OSADCHY
Summer Intern
It seems like North Dakota grown crops are a hot commodity. Members of a N.D. trade mission recently traveled to South Africa in order to make business contacts and to hopefully produce sales.
Jessica Kolden, logistics coordinator for JM Grain, was among the representatives from the state. Kolden traveled to three major cities, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, to make contacts with potential clients. She noted that there is a great benefit to doing business there.
“They (South Africa) import green peas and lentils … we see potential there,” Kolden said. She added that the purpose of the trip was to make contact with the country, but Kolden believes that South Africa is a good market. She added that there “definitely will be product moved there.”
While in the country Kolden negotiated sale prices at Olam International, a company that buys and sells pulse crops and other commodities in South Africa and more than 50 other countries. Although Canada and China supply much of the country’s pulse crops, Kolden noted that U.S. crops seem to be preferred. “People like U.S. products better,” she said.
Another issue the country is looking at is transit time. Kolden said that major food buyers are looking for alternative sources that can bring higher quality foods and shorter transit time.
In February of 2008, Kolden made a trip to Cuba to contract peas, but no contracts were made. Kolden said that purchases in Cuba are only made once a year and the prices are low. In South Africa, Kolden sees a more beneficial price.
 


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