Currency exchange draws Algerian buyers to Western Durum areas

A weakened U.S. dollar compared to the strong French Euro has Algerian wheat buyers shopping in the western United States for alternative sources of Durum wheat.

While Algeria buys most of its wheat from France and Canada, buyers in late May toured wheat areas in Minnesota and North Dakota followed by the Desert Durum areas in California's Imperial Valley and Arizona.

The Arizona stops included meetings with the Bay State Milling Company in Tolleson, Arizona Department of Agriculture Director Don Butler and department staff in Phoenix, Arizona Grain in Casa Grande, and Barkley Seeds in Yuma.

Allan Simons, executive director of the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council, assisted with the Arizona leg of the tour.

The California visit included a Desert Durum farm in harvest mode in Brawley, plus a visit at El Toro Export, LLC in El Centro. California Wheat Commission executive director Bonnie Fernandez helped coordinate the visits.

Fernandez said, “We hope to see the benefits from that visit, but I have nothing to announce now. They are interested in buying and we're interested in selling.”

“The comment we heard over and over from the Algerians was how impressed they were with the organization of the industry, the attention to details to keep varieties separate, and efforts to maintain high quality,” Fernandez said.

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