Look east for grain opportunities

13 July 2001

‘Look east for grain opportunities’

By FWi staff

ASIAN beer drinkers could provide lucrative opportunities for UK growers, claims an expert on grain markets in the region.

Rising living standards across the continent are increasing demand for beer and bread, said Barclay Forrest, a consultant to HGCA British Cereals Export.

And with the UK spring barley area up 46 per cent on last year, there has never been a better time to develop malting quality grain export markets, he said.

It is vital to establish strong worldwide demand for UK barley and wheat, Mr Forrest, told a FARMERS WEEKLY/Farmacy conference at Peterborough on Thursday (12 July).

The European market has definitely reached a peak and is now in slight decline, said Mr Forrest, so we must look further afield.

For the UK market, Mr Forrest said that Asia should undoubtedly be a target for expansion.

As the currencies of countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and China begin to strengthen these markets will become very important, he predicted.

And as the standard of living increases in Asia, so too does demand for cereals.

Beer sales alone have grown by 37 per cent over four years and the demand for bread also continues to rise, making this one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

He said Chinese beer was backed by the government which saw it as a healthy alternative to the white spirits traditionally consumed.

Mr Forrest said Chinese brewing techniques were subtly different, and training would be required if China was to be persuaded to take more UK grain.

He said he was aiming to have a training centre in China which would allow the UK to reach a greater number of Asian brewers and maltsters.


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