Written by imanuel on June 28, 2024

US seeks to deepen trade relations with Jamaica through Soybean Masters Programme

A group of at least 17 Jamaicans across various companies that use soybean oil as part of their production processes have benefited from an intensive education programme on soybean oil utilisation following a collaboration between Caribbean Products Company Limited (CPL), a subsidiary of the Seprod Group of Companies and the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

The group — which includes representatives from CPL, Mother’s Enterprises Ltd, Mussons International Dairies Ltd and the Trinidad and Tobago-based Kiss Baking Co Limited — have joined an elite group of only 1,000 graduates worldwide who have benefited from the Soybean Masters Programme.

In addition to enhancing the knowledge and expertise of the select employees on the benefits of US soy, the intensive education programme also creates a pathway for the US to increase export of its soybean to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

Jamaica currently satisfies all its demand for soybeans, soybean meal and soy oil through imports from Canada, Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, the United States and recently Argentina. The product has historically been used as a kitchen ingredient for making salad dressings, fried meats, margarine, bread and more.

“CPL started the programme in February. We did a face-to-face session and then an online test. After we passed that test then USSEC reached out to us about the masters programme. We then reached out to some of our customers, some of whom accepted the invite. In total, we had 17 people, 13 of whom were from the Seprod Group of Companies,” Sunetra Ramsingh, innovation & development manager at CPL, told the Jamaica Observer.

USSEC began the Soybean Oil Masters programme in Japan, and it has expanded to China, Korea and Taiwan, as well as countries in Southeast Asia and the Americas. The programme, which took participants on a trade mission to Indiana this year, seeks to improve the image of US soybean oil by bringing together different links in the value chain and teaching them about the journey of US soy from the farm to its end-use as soybean oil.

The programme targets participants from across the soybean oil value chain, including importers, crushers, refiners, consumer goods companies, the hospitality and institutional sectors, chef and nutritionists, many of whom may understand their part of the value chain, but lack an appreciation for the rest of it.

Since 2016, more than 800 people have participated in the programme, including Seprod employees, with 70 per cent coming from the soy industry. The remaining participants are nutritionists, college students, and food company employees, but the USSEC has plans to broaden the target audience scope to include restaurants in the future.

Today, there are 11 countries and over 110 attendees from the soy value chain.

“The SBO Master’s Programme, designed for clients of US soybean oil, aims to deepen understanding of soybean oil production, sustainability practices, and the entire value chain. The successful completion of this program highlights our joint commitment to knowledge and sustainability in the soybean oil industry,” market lead for the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, Fradbelin Escarraman, said.

CPL’s General Manager Marilyn Anderson has also lauded the programme.

“This trade mission will enhance our knowledge of supplying quality products to the Jamaican market, allow us to innovate to meet our customers’ needs, and support their operations,” she said.

CPL is the leading manufacturer of cooking oil, margarine, and shortening in the region and as such, its collaboration with USSEC marks a significant milestone.

Participants from various sectors joined the trade mission to Indiana, touring facilities such as Corteva Agriscience, Gainbridge Fieldhouse (home of the Indiana Pacers), Bunge, and Sheller Farms. Gainbridge Fieldhouse caterers, who use high oleic soybean oil for over 600 events annually, incorporated it into their lunch menu, demonstrating its practical applications. The itinerary also included visits to the Indiana Soybean Alliance, Beck’s Hybrids, Cox Farms, and a BBQ reception at Howell Farm, providing invaluable insights into soybean production, processing, and industry best practices.

High oleic soybean oil is noteworthy for its taste, aroma, long shelf life, and suitability for high-temperature cooking in commercial settings. Its versatility extends beyond food, contributing to industries such as biofuel, lubricants, cleaning materials, and oil-based herbicides.

Kevin Cox, chair of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and a farmer from Clay County, welcomed the third class of graduates from the Soybean Oil Masters Programme.

“You have joined an elite group of only 1,000 graduates worldwide. Your region has shown a particular dedication to soybean oil knowledge and growth. We hope you leave with a better understanding of where your soybeans and soybean oil come from and how they’re grown. Trusted partnerships between US farmers, suppliers, and your countries benefit all of us. You will value the relationships and connections you’ve made here for your entire career,” Cox said.

The graduation marks the completion of the latest Soybean Oil Masters Programme, which aims to educate industry stakeholders on the benefits of US soybean oil and promote increased exports. Cox emphasised the programme’s role in expanding market capacity and creating opportunities for US farmers in various markets.

“Corteva Agriscience and Beck’s Hybrids have advanced facilities that showcase their work in crop protection and sustainable farming practices. These agricultural farms, backed by research institutes, play a crucial role in food production, sustainability, and supporting global food needs while minimising environmental impact,” said Asad Mehboob, Serge Farms nutritionist.

Julian Ingledew, company secretary of Pings Manufacturing Ltd, a student of the programme, added, “The US Soy Masters Programme was invaluable. It exposed me to aspects of the process I hadn’t considered and deepened my appreciation for the work behind each plant. Meeting the farmers and workers highlighted their pride and passion for maintaining a sustainable industry. The trip was educational and enjoyable, and I achieved much without feeling rushed.”

Source: https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/2024/06/26/us-seeks-deepen-trade-relations-jamaica-soybean-masters-programme/

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