The crop varieties we focus on are not selected based on just high-prices they fetch in global markets, nor on exotic attributes or scarcity. Our efforts are driven by research into consumption and processing trends in search of crops with strong and sustainable demand that can add value to our agricultural economy. In fact, we make a special effort to warn producers against latest “fads”, markets that can easily get saturated with a sudden supply-shock -- our region’s production capacity is large enough to flood "niche" markets with oversupply, thereby suppress prices.
Initially we will place a great deal of emphasis on specialty-grades of our staple crops -- wheat, durum, barley in particular, as well as canola in search of alternative paths to the contemplated shift from bulk-exports to oil-crushing and bio-fuels. We will follow up on the findings of our earlier flour-milling study to pursue opportunities in China through indirect or re-exporting channels, and also look into other markets in Asia. We are also embarking on a barley initiative, to learn from why our producers missed out on brewing or distilling trends, and how best to invigorate these efforts.
There are plenty of lessons to learn from pulses, how producers struggled initially but found salvation in companies like AGT and Scoular that are hooked into supply-chains and add value to crops by processing, packaging and containerization. There are much larger export opportunities in not only North America and Middle East but also throughout Asia -- we have become the premier pulse-producer but by no means exhausted the growth potential. As in everything else, we will first and foremost pursue direct-sales channels to yield higher margins for producers.
It is difficult to do justice to such a vast array of specialty-crops that the region can turn to in a few paragraphs. Also, we should be upfront about the limitations of our own knowledge in identifying the best options, or how to prioritize them to serve producer-interests -- highest-returns with minimal market-risk exposure. We need suggestions or requests from the producer-community, thus would welcome any advice our followers can give. To this end, we will be establishing a discussion-forum to get ideas as to how we should ration our scarce resources most effectively.
Crop Market Research Priorities
As we stated earlier, our efforts to promote crop-diversification place as much attention to specialty-grades of our export-staples as new crop varieties. Before we get into more in-depth market research into consumption-trends and supply-chains, we want to devote more attention to identifying specific crop types with greatest market potential.
As in all our efforts, however, we want to be guided by producer-interests. Accordingly, we look forward to your ideas and suggestions to shape our research-agenda. Our resources are limited, thus we want to ensure that our priorities are aligned with your needs.