Two years after the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) embarked upon a See For Yourself Mission to Chile, the South American country is reporting its soybean imports from the U.S. increased during the first part of 2020.
“It’s very exciting to see the recent uptick in sales,” said MSR&PC Director Patrick O’Leary, who attended the See For Yourself trip to South America while serving as Council chair. “I really think the See For Yourself mission played a role in educating customers and grain people to understand the high-quality soybeans we have to offer.”
According to data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, from January to April 2020 U.S. agricultural exports to Chile increased by 4.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019, equating to $335.3 million. Conversely, consumer-oriented agricultural exports fell by 5.8 percent due to factors related to COVID-19 and the depreciation of the Chilean peso against the U.S. dollar since October 2019.
Notably, U.S. soybean meal exports to Chile increased from zero to $8.2 million, compared to the same time period in 2019. Each year, Chile, Peru and Ecuador on South America’s western edge import about 3.6 million metric tons of soybean meal.
“Chile is unique and is a market we’re looking to grow,” O’Leary said. “There’s quite an opportunity not only in Chile, but throughout South America.”