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Programme Last updated on 26 June 2020

Wednesday, 10 JUNE 2020

  Nathalie Dubé, Minister-Counsellor, High Commission of Canada and Chair of IGC
SESSION 1 Stimulating globalisation of the grains sector
UK Time Zone: 10.30 – 11.00

The guest speaker will discuss ways to overcome the current turmoil in the global economy and how to promote the globalisation of the grains trade. The speaker will examine the benefits to the grains sector of e-Commerce, trade facilitation, digital finance in the new age of globalisation.

Panel discussion on globalisation in grains sector
The discussion with panellists should identify the main impact of a globalisation rollback namely, which countries would be the most impacted; implications for investments in the food chain and in the grains trade; risks related to maritime transportation.

UK Time Zone: 14.00 – 14.30
The guest speaker will be invited to discuss how globalisation of the grains market helps the sector to cope with rising food demand, respond to new societal challenges (renewable economy, sustainability). The presentation should also discuss future opportunities, underline new trends in the grains sector, such as integration, and how digitalisation of the economy can only be achieved by a global market approach.

Panel discussion on policy developments
The discussion with panellists should identify key initiatives to be taken to scale-up the advantages of globalisation for the grains sector. Items for discussion should focus on tariffs, non – tariff measures, financial digitalisation, etc.
SESSION 3 Investment needs for the grains sector in the MENA region
UK Time Zone: 11.00 – 11.30
The issue of post-harvest loss is regularly on the top of the regional agenda. After several years of economic turmoil, is there a need to increase storage capacity and quality, what is the role of the national buying agencies in this context?

Panel discussion on investment in the MENA region
SESSION 4 Climate change and integration in the grains value chain

Panel: Q&A:
UK Time Zone: 10.00 – 10.30
The global climate change debate has highlighted the carbon foot print of every sector, including the grains sector. The grain sector cannot by-pass this issue. The ability of the value chain to integrate new technologies and science-based approaches will support companies to cope with these new developments.

Panel discussion on climate change and integration of the food chain
The discussion will address the initiatives by companies to respond to global warming concerns and climate change and discuss with the food industry the best way to scale-up these initiatives.

Control Union will be discussing
Regenerative agriculture is a growing movement addressing the issues of soil degradation and the climate crisis. It focuses on sustainable farming practices that promote soil restoration and carbon sequestration. This approach to farming is starting to shape sustainability strategies across the agri-food sector.

Control Union will be presenting regenagri, a new regenerative agriculture platform aimed at supporting farms and organizations to transition to more regenerative practices.”
SESSION 5 Trading and globalisation: new services provided by commodity exchanges

Panel: Q&A:
UK Time Zone: 16.30 – 17.00
Presentation on the role of the Stock Exchange in the current financial challenging market, the trends in the stock exchanges’ activities, mergers, how new types of futures contracts could help to reinforce the role of the futures market to develop the grains value chain.

Panel discussion on new services being offered by grains exchanges
Several stock exchanges will showcase the new services they are providing to their customers
IGTC Responding to today’s uncertainty and challenges, Paths forward for the grain trade
UK Time Zone: 13.30 – 14.00
On the occasion of the 2020 IGC conference, you are invited to engage with IGTC and its members to work across cultures, borders and jurisdictions and create responsive, reliable, resilient supply chains and improved global regulatory and commercial environments.

IGTC Members will share information and seek your advice on efforts to support trade and avoid disruption of the international movement of grain, oilseeds, pulses and derived products

Reporting from around the globe the virtual and interactive dialogue will include:
  • Important new and current information on the import and export environment
  • Examination of value chain performance in providing for food security, sustainable and cost-effective distribution
  • Broadened understanding of complex grain and oilseed of food supply systems
  • Explanation of tools for risk analysis, science-based decisions, and the development use of best practices
  • Enabling and embracing consumer choice and technology advancement, including the digital transformation of world trade and production technologies
  • Responses to COVID 19 and trade distortive tariff and non-tariff measures
SESSION 6 Wheat market development
UK Time Zone: 12.00 – 12.30
The IGC’s initial projections for wheat supply and demand in 2020/21 proposed a comfortable outlook for the coming season. While some weather-related risks for production were noted, the world wheat crop was considered to have the potential to set a new record. Consumption was expected to edge upward, mainly on sustained growth for food. Feed usage of wheat would hinge on prices relative to alternatives and may be constrained by a jump in global maize availabilities. Another accumulation of world stocks was predicted, but with the expansion largely in China and India, while inventories in the major exporters could post another fall. World trade was projected to reach at a peak, led by higher shipments to Africa and Asia. Global stocks were anticipated to remain at comfortable levels.

However, the outlook for all components of supply and demand has become clouded by the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear how existing movement and transportation restrictions will affect fieldwork, including harvesting in some countries. Although a surge in demand occurred as consumers accelerated purchases to build stocks and protect against potential supply disruptions, the demand outlook is uncertain. Consumption of wheat-based foods should be relatively resilient, but economic slowdown could negatively affect consumer demand. In relation to trade, there are a number of factors that could restrict overall volumes. Widespread logistical difficulties have already been reported owing to COVID-19 movement and quarantine rules, while some exporters have imposed temporary caps on shipments in order to preserve local supplies and curb domestic price rises. In the medium to longer term, poorer economic prospects could prevent some importing countries from securing all their needs.

This session will focus on the prospects for wheat supply and demand and the questions that arise for the outlook as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presentation of the IGC forecast, based on the May GMR.
SESSION 7 Maize market development
UK Time Zone: 13.00 – 13.30
Maize is by far the most popular grain for feed and industrial uses, with consumption in recent years underpinned by a series of bumper global crops and competitive prices. Likewise, IGC’s initial projections for 2020/21 suggested that world maize production could potentially reach a new high, led by increases in the US, Mexico and the EU. With larger production more than compensating for a smaller carry in, availabilities were expected to remain ample, likely capping global prices and prompting fresh increases in demand, to a new record. A continued upswing in meat consumption was seen underpinning feed use, with further growth in developing countries accompanied by firmer demand in the EU and the US. Moderate annual advances in industrial processing were expected in the US, Brazil and China, with food uptake placed at a fresh peak on gains in parts of Asia and Africa. World end-season stocks were predicted to recede amid tightening in China, but with overall declines limited by an accumulation in the US. Trade was pegged at an unprecedented level, driven by brisker buying by Mexico and some smaller importers in Asia and North Africa.

The future of the maize market has become less certain due to the evolving coronavirus pandemic. The spread of the disease and subsequent travel restrictions have eroded fuel consumption in many countries, including in the US, where ethanol producers had to idle capacity due to reduced blending and record low biofuel prices. The output of maize-based starches also appears to have been impacted, notably in China, amid a general slowdown in economic activity. While global maize availabilities remain abundant, fears of a protracted slowdown in industrial demand may influence growers’ planting decisions in some countries. The impact on feed demand seems to be less pronounced so far as buying interest in the main importers remains generally brisk, however, livestock and feed industries are facing the risk that deteriorating economic conditions could limit consumer demand for meat in the long-run.

During this session, speakers will be invited to discuss maize supply and demand outlooks for individual countries and the global market, with a focus on risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presentation of the IGC forecast, based on the May GMR.
SESSION 8 Soyabean market development
UK Time Zone: 14.30 – 15.00
Principally linked to developments in Asia, where expanding populations and rising incomes boosted demand for livestock products at the expense of traditional foodstuffs, world soyabean consumption staged solid growth during much of the past decade and more. These trends also underpinned a rapid expansion of trade, led by China’s near-insatiable demand for imports. However, a dispute between the US and China effected a dramatic shake up of traditional trade flows over recent seasons. Compounding this, African Swine Fever resulted in a heavy reduction in China’s pig population and an associated drop in demand for feed ingredients. As a consequence, despite bigger purchases by other importers, growth in world trade moderated significantly, to average just 1% in the past two years.

Tentative projections for 2020/21 point to a recovery in world production, mainly on a rebound in US output. With consumption seen expanding further on feed sector needs, stocks are expected to remain below the average of recent years. Significantly, world trade could advance to a new record on bigger deliveries to China. The recent signing of the Phase One agreement could ultimately see a marked expansion of trade between the US and China, especially amid reports of a gradual recovery in hog inventories. Nevertheless, US exporters will almost certainly face stiff competition from their counterparts in Brazil where – aided by a series of big crops and improving logistical networks – exporters have shown an ability to sell significant quantities during periods that would normally be associated with the northern hemisphere marketing campaign.

These developments must be considered in the context of the sweeping coronavirus pandemic and its potential impact on supply and demand, as well as logistics and trade. Despite the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people and goods at some origins, soybean trade flows have, thus far, been little affected, with Brazil’s shipments progressing at a record pace during the early stages of 2020. Nevertheless, any prolonged dampening of global economic activity would likely dent demand for animal protein and the uptake of feed ingredients, such as soymeal. Additionally, prospects for growth in the use of soybean oil in food and industrial sectors – including for biodiesel manufacture – would likely be constrained.

A panel of experts will assess how these and other factors will shape the broader backdrop of supply and demand in 2020/21.
SESSION 9 Rapeseed/canola market developments
UK Time Zone: 11.30 – 12.00
Rapeseed/canola occupies an importance space in global markets for oilseeds and products. At close to 70m t, it is the second most abundantly produced oilseed, with growth in uptake stemming from feed, food and industrial sectors, including biodiesel production, principally in the EU. However, with annual increases in biofuel output slowing, and with other raw materials gaining market share, what does the future hold, especially with crude oil values currently residing well below earlier highs?

Trade accounts for one-fifth of global demand, much larger than for other commodities, and is mainly shaped by requirements in the EU and Asia. Where do future opportunities lie for key exporters in 2020/21? Will the EU increasingly rely on the world market and what is the outlook for Canadian shipments given disruption to shipment flows to China.

Recent seasons have witnessed a downward trend in EU yields and production. Similarly, prospects in Australia, a key exporter, are often at the mercy of difficult growing conditions. Nevertheless, expanding local and export demand has seen an upswing in oilseeds acreage in Black Sea producers.

These developments will be examined by key industry experts in the context of the sweeping coronavirus pandemic and its broader impact on commodities markets, specifically on trade and logistics.

Presentation of the IGC forecast, based on the May GMR.
SESSION 10 rice market development
UK Time Zone: 12.30 – 13.00
International rice markets faced a challenging environment during the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Panic-buying across many parts of the world at the outbreak of the crisis led to localised shortages as consumers built household stocks, with rice commonly preferred due to its long shelf life and easy cooking properties. The uptick in demand was subsequently compounded by logistical disruptions, including labour shortages in rice processing plants, in the trucking sector and at ports, which contributed to slowdown in shipments from some origins, notably India.

The pandemic also saw an increase in government interventions in the market, including some export restrictions as governments looked to contain surging domestic prices. Consequently, many buyers were forced to turn to Thailand for supplies, where availabilities were tight as drought had reduced production in 2019/20, with the benchmark Thai 5% broken white rice climbing to a seven year peak by early April. Furthermore, a lack of risk management tools and hedging options relative to other grains and oilseeds likely contributed to volatility in prices.

However, large stocks in the two leading producers and consumers, China and India, meant that domestic values in those markets were largely stable, while the overall world supply and demand balance sheets likewise remained positive. While the market continues to adjust to the significant demand shock and logistical disruption, it may remain volatile over the coming weeks and months, yet there remains a prospect that amid ample availabilities, weaker demand may weigh on values by the end of the year.

Looking ahead to 2020/21, while there remains significant uncertainty over the impact of the pandemic and consequent global economic slowdown, it may tentatively be seen as bearish for global rice trade, particularly in developing countries which rely on energy exports for access to foreign exchange. In regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, food security may be dictated by purchasing power rather than global supply. However, global consumption could be underpinned by a decline in higher-valued meat and dairy product uptake in major consuming regions of Asia.

The panel will address the pandemic and wider macroeconomic conditions in order to provide some insight on the state of the market for the coming year, as well as touching on other issues highlighted by the surge in prices such as limited hedging options in international rice markets.
SESSION 11 Ethanol market development
UK Time Zone: 16.00 – 16.30
For many years, ethanol has been the main component of grains processing, accounting for one-half of global industrial use, with maize the dominant feedstock. Owing to economic and environmental advantages compared to traditional fossil fuels, world output and blending of ethanol, including grains-based biofuel, has expanded over time, offering benefits to consumers and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite expanding production in many countries, global output of grains-based ethanol dipped first time in six years in 2018/19 amid poor production margins and fewer export opportunities in the US. The situation was compounded more recently as coronavirus-related movement restrictions reduced gasoline consumption and forced biofuel manufacturers in several countries to shutter facilities.

While demand for biofuel should pick up once the lockdowns are over and road traffic gets back to normal, the development of grains-based ethanol in the top producers could continue to face headwinds, such as low production margins and infrastructure constrains in the US or concerns about environmental sustainability in the EU. In this circumstances, can other countries, such as Brazil, become new points of growth in the post-COVID-19 world? With supply and demand for biofuels likely to be further shaped by policies, what can be the role of ethanol trade in the sector’s recovery after the pandemic? More generally, how sustainable is the position of grains as the main feedstock for the ethanol industry given competition from sugar, alternative outlets, such as livestock feeding, and, in the long-run, the increasing popularity of second-generation biofuels produced from non-food sources, such as crop residue and waste fats?

Presentation of the IGC forecast, based on the May GMR.
SESSION 12 Pulses Market development
UK Time Zone: 15.30 – 16.00
As world food markets adapt to changing consumer preferences, including greater demand for meat-free alternatives in western markets, pulses are set to play an ever-greater role in global food security and trade over the coming century. Dried peas, lentils, chickpeas and dried beans are increasingly being utilised as a plant-based source of protein in the food processing sector, while farmers are also showing a greater willingness to plant these relatively minor crops amid good prices. Attention is also focusing on the benefits of planting pulses for soil fertility, as well as relatively low water requirements, amid efforts to adapt agriculture to a changing climate. Global trade in pulses currently lags far behind the major grain and oilseeds crops, with exports in 2019/20 seen at just 16.2m t (16.0m previous year). Overall volumes in recent years have been curtailed by import restrictions in India, the world’s largest consumer, yet the overall trend remains for expanding demand and exports. While production is found in most parts of the world, and exports are split among a wide number of suppliers, trade is fragmented among different varieties, while prices are largely opaque. In the context of the expected expansion of a market which remains broadly unknown among the wider grains sector, yet is likely to be increasingly relevant to more established forms of protein crops, the IGC’s pulse workshop aims to furnish delegates with detailed information the production trends, demand drivers and recent policy developments within the pulses sector.

Presentation of the IGC forecast, based on the May GMR.
Soy Toolkit supporting the companies in the
responsible sourcing of soy
UK Time Zone: 15.00 – 15.30
The Soy Toolkit is designed to support companies in the responsible sourcing of soy. It is an accessible guide to the many initiatives which aim to decouple soy production and trading from deforestation, conversion of native vegetation and human rights violations.

The Soy Toolkit is structured around each of the five key elements of the soy responsible sourcing process:
Element 1 – assess and plan implementaion
Element 2 – understand supply chain risks
Element 3 – engage suppliers
Element 4 – establish a purchase control system
Element 5 – monitor, verify and report