Last week ASA/WISHH Deputy Director, Liz Hare, met with representatives of the Ministry of Education in El Salvador to discuss increased inclusion of U.S. soy in their school meals program. A representative from Alimentos, S.A. in Guatemala joined the meeting. Alimentos produces textured soy protein (TSP) made with U.S. soy flour in their plant in Guatemala City. The company imported over 5,900 MT of U.S. soy flour last year. The group discussed the potential for a pilot program utilizing increased amounts of U.S. soy in schools in El Salvador to begin in February 2018. While the Salvadoran government already purchases a drink made with U.S. soy for the school meals program, results from a successful pilot program utilizing TSP could allow use of textured soy protein to be expanded to additional schools in the country. ASA/WISHH initially met with representatives of the Ministry of Education last June when ASA Director and USSEC Board Member Monte Peterson of North Dakota and WISHH Vice Chairman Levi Huffman of Indiana participated in Farmer Travel to the region. During that meeting, Huffman and Peterson described how U.S. soy is grown sustainably – a message that resonated with Salvadoran government officials.
Salvadoran government officials joined ASA’s WISHH for an initial meeting in June 2017 to discuss the role of U.S. soy in the government’s school feeding and other social programs. ASA/USSEC Director Monte Peterson and Alimentos S.A. Vice President Alan Ayapan hold a bag of Alimentos’ U.S. soy-based product that WISHH helped introduce to the Salvadoran government. WISHH Vice Chair Levi Huffman stands to the immediate right of Ayapan.