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White Commodities

The U.S. rice industry motivated its politicians to attack USTR Katherine Tai last week as she made the rounds on Capitol Hill. The main point of their ire is India, which they claim uses subsidies far more than WTO rules allow. Indeed, India has subsidized agriculture to the point that its rice exports have doubled over the past decade and now constitutes 40 percent of global trade. Its sugar exports have also doubled and, at 8.5 MMT, it became the world’s sixth largest wheat exporter this year.  Of course, U.S. rice producers are not innocent. They are also heavily subsidized with government support in some years representing over half of farm income. Globally, rice is a trader’s nightmare as governments erect some of th...

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Illuminating the value of technical research

On behalf of a commodity producer organization, WPI evaluated the outputs from a project that featured a $5 million investment into technical research over multiple years. WPI’s team captured the results of this extensive effort and synthesized them for presentation to the organization’s governing board; among the findings uncovered and presented for the first time was the development of genomic traits proven, via rigorous testing, to provide crop yield advantages of 50 percent or more to U.S. farmers in times of drought. Capturing measurable results from long-term efforts can be challenging. Educating clients on the dynamics of success measurement when quantifiable results are not readily available requires deep client-consultant collaboration and an ability to consider both near- and long-term client aspirations with market/policy dynamics – attributes that WPI brings to every consulting engagement.

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