Thanks in part to government funding and programs, as well as Qualified State Soybean Boards and checkoff funds, the WISHH program has a track record of success across the world in various activities and projects.
Videos Featuring WISHH Success
WISHH - Trailblazer for Trade
School Feeding Success
In recognition of International School Meals Day in 2016, ASA’s WISHH shared two videos highlighting the steps and teamwork that led to more nutritious school feeding programs with soy protein in Central America and Côte d’Ivoire.
The government of the Cote d’Ivoire is now incorporating soy protein from
Archer Daniels Midland Company in their school feeding program.
Alimentos S.A. has achieved measurable results in school nutrition
programs with their multiple foods made with soy protein.
Encouraging Soy in Baked Goods and Meat Processing with Success
Through the USDA’s Foreign Market Development and Quality Samples Programs, ASA/WISHH has seen success in West Africa. Faso Eco Fuel et Technologie, a supply chain partner of WISHH, placed an order for a 20 ft. container of defatted soy flour (DSF) for use in their bakery in Burkina Faso. This order came on the heels of the delivery of a mixed container of DSF and textured soy protein (TSP) as part of the USDA Quality Samples Program. The QSP shipment arrived in Burkina Faso in May 2014 and provided samples to industry partners for testing and demonstrations of the utilization of soy in baked goods and meat processing. After positive results in trials with bakers, several placed orders for additional supplies. Faso Eco Fuel et Technologie’s order, made through Minnesota-headquartered CHS Inc., is expected to arrive in Burkina Faso in October 2014. Faso Eco Fuel et Technologie has continued to refine and improve their formulations while also promoting soy enhanced products to their customers. Funded through the USDA’s FMD program, a baker from Faso Eco Fuel et Technologie took part in the “Baking with Soy” short course at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota in August 2014. WISHH will continue to provide additional technical assistance to companies to expand opportunities for US soy products in the baking industry in Burkina Faso.
ASA/WISHH Success Story in Cote d'Ivoire
Société Ivoirienne de Charcuterie et de Salaison (SICS), a producer of meat products based in Abidjan, was identified by WISHH consultants in August 2013 and recently purchased 300kg of Isolated Soy Protein to incorporate into their production. SICS is one of the largest meat-processing companies in Côte d’Ivoire (RCI) and can produce about 45 tons of meat per month. Pork occupies 70 to 80% of their production while beef and poultry share the rest, leading WISHH to conduct technical consultations and demonstrations on the utilization of isolated soy protein (ISP) in their production system. Before the WISHH nutrition and food security conference in Côte d’Ivoire on November 13, 2013, WISHH identified the Dupont-Solae representative in RCI and introduced her to the meat companies WISHH had been working with, including SICS, GID Le Blason, CoqIvoire and SIVAC.
After the Emerging Markets Program/USDA-funded conference in RCI, WISHH consultants and a U.S. soy company representative conducted another test on ISP in the presence of the General Director of another target company, who said he wanted to see if the isolated soy protein could help retain water and make their products firmer and more sliceable. The test was so successful that SICS ordered 300 kg of ISP to incorporate into their business. An additional meat-processing company has committed to the purchase of the same product in March, according to local contacts. WISHH began working in Côte d’Ivoire in 2011 with the USDA Emerging Markets Program (EMP); consultants will conduct trainings with bakery networks in the coming months on the utilization of defatted soy flour (DSF) in bread production, building demand for future U.S. value added soy proteins and find a supply chain partner.
Launch of Soy Fortified Instant Noodle to Commercial Market
CAPRA-CI, part of the SIPRA conglomerate and the only pasta producer in Cote d’Ivoire, has launched a soy fortified instant noodle to the commercial market. WISHH introduced the idea to CAPRA-CI during a technical visit in 2011. The company is using a formulation of 10-15% soy and producing 40 tons of the noodles per month, equating to 4 MT of soy per month. However, the current level of production represents only 20% of full capacity. With a stated desire to continue increasing production as they perfect their formulation, CAPRA-CI has the capacity to use 240 MT of soy flour per month. With continued funding from EMP, WISHH has provided CAPRA-CI with the technical assistance necessary to refine their recipe and support the commercial success of this product.
Capra-ci has also expressed interest in importing soy for distribution to the baking industry. WISHH is working with BCA, one of four large bakery chains in Cote d’Ivoire, which has the capacity to utilize a 20 ft. container of soy per month on their own. CoqIvoire is a meat processing company, and part of the SIPRA conglomerate, to which WISHH is also providing technical assistance on the utilization of isolated soy protein in their production system. WISHH hosted a nutrition and food security conference in Cote d’Ivoire on November 13, 2013, which included the presence of three large US suppliers of soy: ADM, DuPont Food and Nutrition, and CHS Inc. The WISHH conference created the opportunity for business meetings between US soy suppliers and Ivorian food processing companies to discuss business and sales opportunities.
Technical Assistance and Market Research Increases Commercial Utilization of Soy
WISHH’s work in Senegal began in 2009 with market research funded under the EMP program. This report led to the identification of opportunities for value added soy products (VASPs) in several sectors, including use by bakeries, meat processors, and restaurants. In 2011, CHS Inc. became the first US processor to export VASPs to Senegal for the baking and retail markets. Once commercial sales began, WISHH added additional support through trade team visits, import-distributor capacity building, and information campaigns through the USDA Market Access Program.
Throughout 2014, WISHH has used FMD funding to continue providing technical assistance to businesses to promote the commercial benefits of US soy products. In May 2014, the local supply chain partner, Sensoy, made its first bulk order for 20 containers of textured soy protein (TSP). One 20 ft. container will be shipped to Senegal every 20 days from CHS Inc.’s plant in Hutchinson, Kansas. In 2014, DuPont, a second US processor, also exported the first isolated soy proteins (ISPs) to Senegal as a result of WISHH technical assistance and support to the meat sector. With a strong supply chain partner receiving critical capacity building support and a vibrant information campaign to promote consumer awareness, Senegal is increasing its commercial utilization and household consumption of VASPs.
Smart Foods Works to Bring Soy Sausages to Every Ugandan Family
USDA support of the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program was a key ingredient in the launch of a new and healthy product in Uganda. Months of research and development combined with an evolving recipe and plenty of taste testing led to a vegetarian sausage for the Ugandan market.
Food scientist Martin Ssali serves as the director of Smart Foods Limited, a Ugandan food company that creates new soy-based meat alternatives for the local market. “Our company vision is to have our soy products to be eaten by every family in the country,” said Ssali. “The sausage is a new concept and Ugandans don’t want to buy what they haven’t tasted so I will continue to do more product sampling and testing at supermarkets to have more people test the product.”
Through support from the USDA’s Market Access Program-funded Global Broad-based Initiative (MAP/GBI) program, WISHH provided technical support to Smart Foods. Founded in 2008, the company operates under the Food Technology Business Incubation Center of the Makerere University in Kampala.
“In working to develop international markets, WISHH looks for food entrepreneurs like Martin Ssali, who have a market, a goal, and the ability but just need a little help getting over the hurdles they face,” said WISHH Executive Director Jim Hershey. “WISHH is able to help individuals like Martin take their businesses to the next level. USDA support of these efforts creates demand for U.S. soy.”
People began commenting to Ssali that his tofu tasted great but could he cook sausage? So Ssali has spent the last year transforming the commercial tofu recipe he created into a vegetarian sausage. “Without WISHH’s technical assistance and the textured soy protein they sent for recipes, I would get nowhere on the product at home,” said Ssali.
Through the development process, WISHH provided Smart Foods with technical consultants who worked with Ssali’s sausage recipe to make a product that was as familiar to Ugandans as possible. Smart Foods had been currently producing 120 kg (264 lbs) of sausage, about 2,000 links per week, which includes approximately 15 lbs of soy protein isolates and 50 lbs of textured soy protein.
“ASA and WISHH have given us the potential to go to our local market with soy food,” said Ssali, who recently visited the U.S. for a soy training through the MAP/GBI funding. “I met so many people from different countries and got to know what they are doing and also learned about how others make sausages using soy protein isolates. I think with the knowledge I’ve gained, I will be able to do a lot more in my country.”
In addition to technical and logistical support, WISHH’s training in the U.S. also provided Ssali with a new perspective.
“I will take back the aspect of thinking big,” said Ssali. “When we visited the United States, I realized much of the work being done in Uganda is micro, small-scale. So we need to begin thinking much bigger, otherwise we can’t get there. The biggest vision is a commitment to the people.”
A USDA Market Access Program-supported advertising campaign contributes to this vision. In the spring of 2011, radio, television and “street kitchen” events and point-of-sale demonstrations gave hundreds of Ugandans their first taste of foods made with U.S. textured soy protein.
The USDA-Funded FEEDing Pakistan Project
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (ASA/WISHH) program is implementing a three year, multi-faceted “FEEDing Pakistan” aquaculture project in Pakistan.
Click HERE to read more, watch how fish have grown over 100% and find out how you can learn more about FEEDing Pakistan!
ASA/WISHH FEEDing Pakistan Private Sector Engagement
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began implementation of the USDA funded “FEEDing Pakistan” program in September 2011, aimed at improving capacity, productivity and quality in the Pakistani aquaculture sector. The program reaches local fish farmers, Pakistani government officials and commercial members of the aquaculture industry. As part of the program, ASA/WISHH has partnered with a feed miller, Oryza Organics, located outside of Lahore to produce high protein floating fish feed – the first produced locally in Pakistan. In partnership with ASA/WISHH Oryza has purchased a U.S. manufactured extruder. The purchase was made after the CEO of Oryza, Mr. Zahid, attended the program’s training course at Kansas State University where he learned about the value of extruded feed made with soybean meal and was able to visit the equipment manufacturing facility. Convinced of the potential for growth in the aquaculture industry, Mr. Zahid returned to Pakistan to consult with his business partners and placed the order for the extrusion equipment which arrived in Pakistan in April and was formally inaugurated in July.
Since returning to Pakistan, Mr. Zahid has become an aquaculture advocate committed to the growth of the industry and knowledgeable about the benefits of soybean meal in fish feed. While he is committed to the sales of his new product, Mr. Zahid knows that the industry needs time for growth and that his capacity for production will likely exceed initial demand. Instead of running his newly purchased equipment below capacity, Mr. Zahid decided to think outside of the box. He knew that the University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences was interested in the results of the FEEDing Pakistan program and had ponds sitting idle at their Pattoki campus, so Mr. Zahid entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the university to draw on each of their strengths. Under the MOU, Mr. Zahid will rent the ponds (the university has 31 of them) from the University which he will stock with tilapia and feed with the floating feed produced by Oryza. After witnessing the success of ASA/WISHH’s tilapia feeding demonstrations last year, Oryza is funding these ongoing feeding demonstrations that will highlight the effectiveness of the feed produced in their facilities. Oryza has imported 36,000 tilapia fry from Thailand to fill the ponds; they also plan to import sea bass fry for trials. The feeding demonstration on their campus will allow students the opportunity to be involved in research around the ponds as well as get hands-on training; the partnership also gives Oryza access to the University’s laboratory facilities. Oryza has essentially built an investment with a university into its business plan and, with the guidance of ASA/WISHH, has formed a public private partnership, which strengthens their business plan, provides otherwise unavailable educational opportunities to students and has lasting benefits for the industry as a whole.
A USDA GAIN report recently highlighted the FEEDing Pakistan program in projections for growth in the aquaculture industry. Projections in the report included a 525 percent increase in aquaculture production and a complementary increase in the demand for fish feed, which was projected to increase soybean meal demand from 42,000 tons to 260,000 tons. Such projections highlight the significant nexus between trade and development programs.
FEEDing Pakistan Engages with Other U.S. Government Initiatives
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded “FEEDing Pakistan” program in September 2011, aimed at improving capacity, productivity and quality in the Pakistani aquaculture sector. The program reaches local fish farmers, Pakistani government officials and commercial members of the aquaculture industry. As part of the program, ASA/WISHH tries to link FEEDing Pakistan programming with past U.S. government projects and ongoing programming of other organizations where possible and appropriate. In November 2011, ASA/WISHH Country Representative R.S.N. Janjua, together with Mr. Iftikhar – CEO, Fisheries Development Board – visited the Swat Trout Fish Famers Association, led by President Rasheed Khan. These areas produce 65-70% of the trout in Pakistan. Twelve trout farmers from the surrounding areas were present at the meeting to discuss their concerns and needs moving forward. One of the greatest needs mentioned was that for quality feed.
After the devastating 2010 flood in the Swat Valley destroyed the trout farming infrastructure of the area, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded a group of projects to rehabilitate the trout farms. As part of one of these projects, USAID distributed imported pre-formulated fish feed from the U.S. to select trout farms. The farms that utilized the imported feed achieved unprecedented growth rates. The fish reached marketable size in half (9-10 months) the standard amount of time required (18-20 months) for a fish to grow from hatching to marketable size. Farmers attributed the rapid growth of the fish stock to the imported fish feed, and once the imported feed ran out, the farmers began searching for a similar quality feed in Pakistan that they could feed their fish. However, at the initial meeting they reported that they could not find any comparable feed locally. During the meeting, Janjua explained that an output of the FEEDing Pakistan program would be the local production of high-protein, floating fish feed.
In November 2013, as part of USDA’s FEEDing Pakistan program, Janjua again visited the Swat Trout Fish Farmers Association to host a Farmers’ Field Day with the group and share the good news that a company in Pakistan was now producing high-protein, floating fish feed available on the commercial market. Mr. Rasheed Khan, still President of the Association, who manages trout brood stock, a trout fish farm and a trout hatchery, shared his experiences with the group at the Field Day. Mr. Khan began his operations utilizing home-mixed feed, with which it took three months to grown one inch trout. When he switched to U.S. imported Rangen feed through the USAID project in 2011-2012, the fish grew to the same size in three weeks. The marketable size for his trout was 250-300 grams, which he traditionally attained in 24-30 months with his home-mixed feed, but was able to obtain in 9-10 months with Rangen feed. Mr. Khan explained to the group that he has begun using feed produced locally by Oryza, the private-sector partner under the FEEDing Pakistan project; the feed is produced with high-protein soybean meal and closely resembles Rangen feed. According to Mr. Khan, the rate of mortality at his farms has been reduced compared to when he was using the home-mixed feed.
Mr. Zahid Yaquob, CEO of Oryza, was in attendance at the Field Day to fully explain to the farmers the quality of his feed and how they can obtain it for use on their farms. This story exemplifies the importance of synergies to be found amongst previous and current U.S. government programming. The knowledge and experience that was built by USAID years ago, allowed the farmers in Swat to quickly recognize the value of the new feed that Oryza is now producing locally in Pakistan under a USDA-funded project. The trout farmers of Swat have become an additional customer base for Oryza; their commercial purchases will help to sustain the new feed production initiative undertaken by Oryza initially for tilapia farmers, keeping the valuable feed available for all.
ASA/WISHH FEEDing Pakistan Field Officer Stands Out
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began implementation of the USDA funded “FEEDing Pakistan” program in September 2011, aimed at improving capacity, productivity and quality in the Pakistani aquaculture sector. The nature of the three year program is broad, reaching aspects of the Pakistani government and the commercial sector, and often making it easy to overlook the many individuals that the program is impacting. One young man however has made himself stand out amidst all of the program activities.
Shahid Suleman, a 23 year old from the village of Saray about 120 kilometers north of Lahore, was recently hired under the FEEDing Pakistan program to serve as a Field Research Officer for the program’s months long tilapia feeding trials. Shahid is working at the Salli Dam in the Punjab province and has proven himself to be an extraordinarily hard worker. Born into poverty, Shahid was the only member of his family, and one of the few from his village, to attend high school and college. Shahid graduated with a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Puttoki in 2011, and his job as a Field Research Officer is his first job since graduation. As a Field Research Officer for the FEEDing Pakistan program, Shahid not only earns a monthly salary but is receiving capacity building training from ASA/WISHH. Shahid has learned to track the progress of the feeding trials, write reports to staff outside of the area, maintain logbooks, report and tabulate data, utilize the internet as a communications tool, and has even received assistance from ASA/WISHH to open his own bank account – all seemingly small, yet empowering activities. After his hands on training with ASA/WISHH, Shahid will have the field experience and advanced skills necessary to seek employment with feed companies in Pakistan who plan to produce aqua feed in the future. From his short-term experience thus far, Shahid has already learned extensive amounts about the handling of tilapia, and he is considering starting his own small fish farm in his village in the future.
It is inspiring, even for seasoned program implementers, to hear about a young man who works diligently to excel in the job he has earned. Shahid works closely with all of those working at the fish farm and does not shy away from physical labor or tasks that do not fall under his job description. FEEDing Pakistan is not a direct food aid program, although the population of Pakistan is protein deficient and the Pakistani government has put a high priority on reducing the gap between the amount of protein produced in Pakistan compared to the amount needed to meet the nutritional needs of the population – hence the feeding trials for tilapia. The program focuses on the aquaculture industry in Pakistan and one of its goals is to help fish farmers grow an increased number of fish more efficiently through the use of high protein floating fish feed produced locally in Pakistan with U.S. soybean meal.
Programs such as FEEDing Pakistan that are very broad in nature and generally focused on commercialization, do not often get credit for impacting individuals and hard workers like Shahid, who may only be reached through the trickle down of opportunities and resources and are often overlooked or forgotten. This USDA program has allowed for capacity building not only in industry and large factories, but on small fish farms outside of capital cities where young people like Shahid often find themselves without many opportunities. Under the program, ASA/WISHH has hired five other individuals who serve as Field Research Officers and have similar stories – we are grateful that Shahid’s dedication has made all of their work, which is a seemingly small portion of the overall project, stand out in a way that accentuates the importance of the efforts and commitment of each person involved.
Developing the Market for Value-Added Soy Products in Pakistan
ASA/WISHH, through the Emerging Markets Program (EMP), has been working to develop the market for value-added soy products, specifically soy flour, in Pakistan.
EMP funding allowed for an in-country representative since October 2012 to provide trade servicing to bakeries and importers, along with funding for a reverse trade team. In June 2013, a reverse trade team attended a short course titled “Baking with Soy Flour” at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota. The reverse trade team also met with U.S. suppliers and garnered significant local media coverage.
Initial soy flour sales were small and infrequent. As more bakeries became familiar with the economic and functional attributes of soy flour, sales are becoming larger and more frequent. The first sale took place in October 2013 and was only one container. Several months went by before a second container was sold. By the summer of 2014, sales were happening every two months and are anticipated to become monthly. As of spring of 2014, five containers of soy flour have been sold to Pakistan.
Around $60,000 in soy flour sales have taken place to date.
Sulgara District Soybean Field: Farmer Gul
The goals of the USDA Food for Progress-funded Soybeans for Agricultural Renewal in Afghanistan Initiative (SARAI) included promoting soybean cultivation and consumption in Afghanistan. One success story of the objective to increase the production capacity of targeted Afghan farmers comes from Farmer Gul of the village of Kadem in Shulgara district. He planted 2 jeribs of soybeans on June 25 through the broadcast method of seeding. He initially used his two-wheel tractor for land preparation, and then broadcast the soybean seed, first increasing the seeding rate to 16 kgs per jerib followed by the two-wheel tractor for seed incorporation. The field was then leveled by “mula” two times in opposite directions. (A “mula” is a heavy wooden plank pulled by oxen to level a field and at the same cover seed more thoroughly with soil).
The field follows wheat which had received 25 kgs of DAP and 50 kgs of urea per jerib. The addition of soybean inoculant mixed with the seed at planting time did result in good Rhizobium inoculation! Weeding was done two times by hand with yellow nut sedge representing 70% of the weeds present in the field.
This is not this farmer’s first time to plant soybeans. He has planted soybeans for the last three years for Nutrition Education International (NEI). He says,
“I am happy to see such a good soybean field. I am planting soybeans this year for the Afghan Soybean Factory because I know that I can sell 100% of my harvest and there is a ready local market.”
Planting Soybeans with Two-Wheel Tractor Seeder in Kaldar District
In Kaldar, there are a higher number of two-wheel tractors (2WT). As part of the ASA/WISHH soybean production program, initial attempts were made in manufacturing row markers adaptable to the 2WT. There were two designs, one by OH and one by ASA/WISHH agricultural machinery specialist Ahmad Raza Sultani. These 2WT row markers were tested at the JDA training facility just outside Mazar-e-Sharif (See photos below). At first the farmers liked the 2WT row marker; but later, with the location of the 2WT seeders, the farmers preferred the 2WT seeders.
On June 1 and 2, 2014, arrangements were made for an OH 2WT technician from Mazar-e-Sharif to go to Kaldar to locate 2WT seeders in collaboration with the ASA/WISHH extension agronomist and to ultimately calibrate them for soybean seeding. But due to the unfamiliarity of the area this effort was not successful. They did locate seeders; but they were damaged or lacking necessary spare parts.
Finally, through the search for 2WT seeders, a local agricultural technician, Abdul Ramin, was found from the area. Due to his intimate knowledge of the Kaldar area he was able to locate four working 2WT seeders with a larger sprocket needed to plant soybeans at the recommended seeding rate. The seeders were modified to plant soybeans using three rows per seeder at a 40 cm row spacing. The end result was the planting of 220 jeribs of the 280 jeribs with the 2WT seeders. The other 60 jeribs were planted through broadcast and by hand-made raised beds.
Reverse Trade Mission to the U.S. by Pakistani Food Processing/Hospitality Companies
In June, 2012 representatives of five Pakistani Food Processing and hospitality companies participated in a reverse trade mission to the United States thanks to USDA’s Emerging Markets Program. The companies represented were: Pizza Hut, Karachi; Ajmair Foods, Lahore; All Pakistan Bakers and Sweets Association/Cakes & Bakes, Lahore; Marriott Hotels, Islamabad; and Seasons Foods, Lahore. The trade mission was led by WISHH Pakistan Representative R.S.N. Janjua.
The group spent time at NSRL at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where they received training on soybean processing and utilization of various soy products, including; soymilk, tofu, soy flour bakery products; textured soy proteins (flour and concentrates) in meat extension applications; and Pakistani food preparation with soy proteins, including Pakistani pizza (textured soy concentrate).
The group also visited several U.S. soy companies, including: Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Harvest Innovations, Waldorf Elevator, the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSRPC), and CHS Oilseed Processing in Mankato, Minnesota.
From a market development perspective, Pakistan is a large emerging market economy with a population of 185 million. The food processing sector is large and fairly well developed. There is significant interest by the Pakistani food processors in utilizing US soy protein products. However, at present the tariffs on US soy are extremely high. WISHH is currently working to reduce tariffs on U.S. soy protein products.
As a result of the reverse trade mission described above, and despite the high tariff of 50% on U.S. soy flour, one Pakistani baking company, Cakes & Bakes, has recently purchased a 20-foot container of soy flour from CHS.
USDA and ASA/WISHH Build Capacity through FEEDing Pakistan Project
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) program began implementation of the USDA-funded “FEEDing Pakistan” project in September 2011, aimed at improving capacity, productivity and quality in the Pakistani aquaculture sector. In 2011, the FEEDing Pakistan project was introduced on USDA’s blog highlighting the work of Mohammed who served as a Field Research Officer conducting tilapia feeding demonstrations.
ASA/WISHH concluded the feeding demonstrations, which were a strong success: the fish grew quickly and to a market size that was considerably larger than any tilapia that had been in the market place previously and farmers recognized the critical advantages of the floating feed as they were better able to ascertain the health of their fish, carefully adjust feeding to the actual consumption rate of the fish, and achieve Feed Conversion Ratios (FCRs) that were 100 to 200% improvements on the locally available non-floating feed with no soybean content. The great success of the demonstrations was due in large part to the dedicated work of the six Field Research Officers (FROs) employed as part of the project.
These individuals were extremely committed to the success of the demonstrations and worked diligently to ensure fish were properly fed, monitoring and evaluation occurred, and reports were written. The FROs received training from ASA/WISHH staff on proper feeding techniques, ideal pond conditions, report writing, data tabulation and communication with field staff. The FEEDing Pakistan project provided not only hands-on training but networking opportunities not normally available to recent graduates. Through programmatic activities the FROs were able to liaise with feed millers, fish processors, traders, academia and Pakistan government officials. Since the conclusion of the feeding demonstrations and the FROs’ six month assignment with the project, all six of them have either been admitted to programs where they will continue their studies or have been hired by contacts made through their participation in the project.
One of the FROs is currently completing his Masters in Philosophy at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) and has been accepted into the Ph.D. program. The faculty has involved him in research and he has been hired by Oryza Organics, ASA/WISHH private sector partner, to monitor their rented aquaculture ponds at the university’s Pattoki Campus. Two of the FROs have been hired by the Pakistan Fisheries Development Board for field work in floating cages. Another FRO was admitted to the Masters in Philosophy program at Quaid-e-Azam University and plans to focus his research on tilapia. The chair of his department has engaged him in the training of incoming students teaching best management practices. Another FRO was appointed fishing warden in his hometown by the Sindh Fisheries Department and has been posted to a hatchery to assist the staff in running their tilapia project. Finally, another FRO was recently contracted as Master Trainer in his hometown under the Benazir Bhutoo Shaheed Youth Development Program (BBSYDP).
This USDA project is successfully addressing the aquaculture industry in Pakistan as a whole – feeding demonstrations were conducted with progressive farmers and the successful results have reached other stakeholders including fish traders and food processors; recent university graduates have received hands-on training and professors are encouraging and supporting new research; feed millers have received technical assistance and are investing in new technologies to improve their feed outputs; and government officials have witnessed the potential of aquaculture first-hand and are implementing programs showing commitment to the industry’s growth. The project has inspired investment from local entrepreneurs and is creating an exciting environment for new graduates who have reported high moral surrounding the expanding industry. The education provided to all members of the value chain through the FEEDing Pakistan project will have lasting impacts for the industry.
WISHH Cochran Program Facilitates Relationships in Central America to Increase U.S. Soy Exports
Over the past few years, the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) has cultivated a relationship with Alimentos, S.A. in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Foreign Agricultural Service Personnel in Guatemala and Washington, D.C. have supported the initiation and maintenance of this important relationship with a company that processes between 12,000 and 13,000MT of U.S. soy per year.
USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) funded technical assistance visits to Guatemala which reached this large food processor. Through its partnership with Alimentos, WISHH hosted technical trainings on the creation of snack foods utilizing U.S. soy products, and has participated with Alimentos in meetings on the use of soy in school lunch and public sector nutrition programs. In 2012, Alimentos’ New Product Development Manager, Paola Escobar, attended WISHH’s Midwest Soy Protein Workshop entitled “Improving School Nutrition”, funded through USDA’s Cochran program. The workshop was hosted by the University of Illinois’ National Soybean Research Laboratory and gave participants the opportunity to explore new strategies to address improving school nutrition programs. Attendees of the conference represented Private Voluntary Organizations, government officials, and international food companies – including processors from Africa and Central America. Members of the Cochran delegation spent a week before the workshop in Washington, D.C. visiting a school lunch program at a D.C.-area public school, meeting with food and industry representatives from the private sector, attending a School Nutrition Advocacy and Administration workshop and attending a briefing at the U.S. Capitol on international school feedings.
Through the Cochran program, Paola was introduced to Reinaldo Sanchez – the representative from the Fabretto Children’s Foundation’s Food Security and Nutrition Program in Nicaragua. The two were able to discuss their organizations’ missions at the workshop and find synergies they had never before considered. Once they had returned to their respective countries, Fabretto invited Alimentos to participate in the National Food Security Expo in Managua, Nicaragua.
Alimentos buys U.S. soy flour which they process into textured soy protein (TSP) at their plant in Guatemala and then sell throughout Central America. At the Food Security Expo Alimentos hosted tasting of their TSP and staff from Fabretto introduced them to representatives of the World Food Program, disaster relief organizations and others engaged in food security discussions in the country. Alimentos was able to offer their high protein products (TSP and Incaparina – a micronutrient fortified corn soy blend also made with U.S. soy flour) to these organizations to help them meet the needs of the Nicaraguan people. These contacts, which could have lasting impacts for Central America through the provision of locally made high protein foods and beverages, as well as continue to increase U.S. soy exports, can be directly attributed to USDA’s Cochran program.
In addition, when Paola returned to Guatemala she was able to meet with members of Alimentos’ Sales and Nutrition Teams which had drafted a proposal to the Guatemalan government for the country’s school feeding program. Paola was able to offer her team concrete ways to improve the proposal – skills she had learned at WISHH’s Midwest Soy Protein Workshop funded through the Cochran program.
The important relationships WISHH maintains, and which USDA funding supports, with local companies like Alimentos ensure that our partners have the technical support needed to continue to create products that address the regions protein needs in a commercially sustainable fashion, while also increasing U.S. soy export levels.
Distribuidora del Caribe and WISHH Collaboration in Guatemala
The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) has cultivated a relationship with Distribuidora del Caribe in Central America. Foreign Agricultural Service Personnel in Guatemala and Washington, D.C. have supported the initiation and maintenance of this important relationship with a local distributor working to get U.S. soy products to individual buyers.
USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) funded technical assistance visits to Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras which reached both importers and food processors in the region. WISHH assisted with product development, nutrition education and corporate social responsibility training. Through its partnership with Distribuidora del Caribe (DDC), WISHH funded technical trainings on the utilization of soy flour in bakery products. DDC was and is an integral part of WISHH’s outreach strategy to bakeries in Central America and has connected WISHH technical consultants to bakeries interested in learning more about the inclusion of U.S. soy flour in their product lines.
With MAP FY11 funding, WISHH provided technical assistance to Distribuidora del Caribe’s client in Guatemala City – Bakery and More. After receiving WISHH training from baking consultant Sergio Serna, Bakery and More decided to include U.S. soy flour in their products and placed an order through DDC. Two containers of U.S. soy flour arrived at DDC in Guatemala in March. This transaction not only increased U.S. soy exports through an established distribution partner, but initiated a relationship with a new buyer of U.S. soy flour. Bakery and More first began working with textured soy protein (TSP) to produce a cookie for the Guatemalan primary school feeding program years ago; this was their first purchase of U.S. soy flour and is a direct result of the USDA MAP program.
Thanks to the national soybean checkoff, U.S. soybean farmers from various states including: Kentucky, North Dakota, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas and Illinois, were able to contribute to building this bilateral relationship by traveling to Guatemala to meet with Distribuidora del Caribe, USDA/FAS personnel and companies – like Bakery and More – using U.S. soy in their products.