Naturally, producers have a vested interest in diversifying to higher-value crop grades or varieties but their hands are tied -- direct-sales channels to export markets are limited, if exist at all in today's market environment dominated by bulk-trades.
The first prong of our mission is to nurture the development of direct-sales channels, by identifying new export market opportunities and increasing visibility into Prairie agriculture to attract crop buyers or importers from around the world.
NATURE OF GRAIN TRADES
We are conditioned to think of grain-exports as bulk-commodity-trades, a misconception that traps us in low-value exports. The science-and-technology is there for us to grow highly specialized varieties and grades of crops that can fetch much higher value.
Decades of market liberalization -- from abolishment of the single-desk export monopoly to privatization of grain-handling assets -- have given the producers the freedom to grow what they wish. But they are still highly captive to a handful of grain-companies, with limited access to direct-buyers -- flour-mills, food-processors, feed-companies, or even wholesalers.
Initially, we are launching this trade-forum to forge ties between Prairie-producers and importers of specialty-crops, making a concerted effort to facilitate dialogue between interested parties. In time, we will nurture the development of this forum into an online marketing-platform -- be it for opportunistic spot-sales or sustainable contract-sales.
We support these channel-development efforts through multiple tracks. We target promising specialty-crop markets with research into consumption and supply-chain trends. Also, we promote the virtues of the Prairies as the world's leading specialty-crop region with a huge variety of identity-preserved crops that can be delivered to buyers' doorsteps in containers.
Next harvest's crop-choices are often based on export price trends, but enlightened specialization in pursuit of higher-returns require much more -- following consumption and processing trends in target markets.
The market-insights we provide are based on detailed studies of supply-chain trends in targeted markets to understand the crop varieties and grades processors need to meet market demand for feed or food.
We are advocates of crop-specialization in pursuit of higher-returns for producers, but we are well aware of the risk-reward trade-offs that come with specialization -- accordingly, we take risk-management seriously.
To this end, we leverage our research capacity to mitigate market-risks, conduct due diligence into prospective buyers, provide contractual support, and search for expanded export-insurance options.