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momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
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of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
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French grain exports:
Access to the Chinese market penalized by low quality wheat



Frédéric Hénin, Editor in Chief, Terre-net


Article published in Terre-net Média



The abundance of wheat available for export on the world market makes the sale of French grain more difficult. Operators face competition from high quality, very competitive grain regardless of its origin because of low transport costs.

France is currently unable to rely on its grain to reduce its trade deficit with China! Yet China wants France to be one of its major wheat suppliers. But with 11% protein and 22% gluten, the quality of French wheat does not meet the specifications imposed by Chinese importers.

The manufacture of noodles requires wheat with a moisture content of less than 14% and a gluten humidity greater than 26%. For biscuit manufacture, the criteria are not quite as strict. The gluten humidity content only needs to be greater than 18%, but should reach at least 22% for the flour used for the production of cookies and soda crackers.

China imports wheat to improve the quality of the grain produced by its farmers. Last year, the 126 million tonnes harvested did not cover the needs of the food industry, particularly in terms of quality.

The small size of farms (less than 0.2 ha) and limited storage capacity make the classification of harvests, wheat reception and grain drying very difficult.

As a result, China has secured the quality of its wheat supply by importing homogeneous batches.

Up until 2012, the second world economic power was supplied by Australia, the United States and Canada. France only managed to sell wheat to China in 2013 and these were only small quantities (55,000 tonnes last year).

Given China's wheat production, imports relate to very small volumes with less than one million tonnes in 2010 and 2011, 3 million tonnes in 2012 and 2014 and 5 million tonnes in 2013. As wheat production will not grow in the coming years at the rate of domestic consumption, it is likely that Chinese imports will grow steadily and to supply its market China wants to diversify its suppliers.


NEW CLASSIFICATION IN 2015

France would fully benefit from the opening of the Chinese market if its grain growers manage to produce more milling quality wheat with protein levels and higher than 11.5% gluten on a regular basis.

The new grain classification put forward by Intercéréales precisely aims at increasing the quality of wheat products in France. It could become a reference for producers to gaining more contracts and establishing pricing templates.

From 1st July 2015, Intercéréales suggests dividing wheat into four categories based on minimum protein level content:

A1 – Premium, for a rate higher than 11.5%;
A2 – Superior, for a rate of at least 11%;
A3 – Medium, for a level of at least 10%;
A4 – Access, with a rate to be specified in the contract.
This classification is completed by three other criteria: baking strength, specific weight and the Hagberg falling number.

In addition to a minimum rate of 11.5% protein, Premium wheat is characterized by a baking strength of at least 170, a specific weight of at least 77 g and a Hagberg falling number higher than 240.


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Paris, 19 December 2018