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Annex 4: Major international grain and vegetable oils trading companies

The major international trading companies for cereals and vegetable oils are described below. A number of end-users (e.g., Unilever, Procter & Gamble) that are large direct buyers of, in particular, vegetable oils from origin countries are not included here.

Alimenta SA is a major Swiss private trading company, with a significant presence in world vegetable oils markets. It is, among other things, a partner of Archer Daniels Midland in the world’s largest groundnut oil company (Golden Peanut Cy, the largest processor of groundnuts in the US, and which has worldwide trading operations).

American Rice Inc. (United States) accounts for about 4 percent of the world rice market. It markets around one fifth of US rice, and also has a joint venture with Vinafood I, one of Viet Nam's major rice exporters.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (United States) is a major agricultural processing and trading firm, the world’s second largest grain trader after Cargill. Much of its trading operations are through its German-based trading arm Toepfer International, in which ADM has an 80 percent share. Toepfer alone trades over 40 million tonnes of grains, oilseeds and oils a year. ADM is the largest crusher of soybeans in the US, with a 31 percent market share (about one sixth of world production), and a 30-40 percent market share in Europe (another 4-5 percent of world production).

Ascot Commodities (Switzerland) is the rice trading arm of the oil company Addax & Oryx (one of the world’s three largest oil traders, also active in oil production and distribution). It is a major supplier to African markets (primarily to West Africa and countries in the Indian Ocean), with sales of over 500 000 tonnes in 2001. The transactions for rice trading are mainly carried out through cost and freight sales, covered by guaranteed letters of credit. However, the consignment of rice stocks, under the control of a reputable inspection company, is also possible, but is limited to a few markets.

Bunge Group (Argentina) formerly known as Bunge y Born, annually trades some 30 million tonnes of soybeans, wheat, maize and other grains. It is responsible for about a fifth of world trade in oilseeds and oils, and is a major cereals and soybeans exporter from Argentina and Brazil. The group operates one of the world’s largest flour milling operations. Bunge is the largest soybean processor in the western hemisphere with substantial business in Brazil and Argentina (through an alliance with Aceitera General Deheza S.A.).

Capital Rice Co. Ltd. (an affiliate of the STC Group, a Thai conglomerate of trading and manufacturing companies in the field of agro-industry), established in 1977, accounts for about a fifth of Thailand’s rice exports. Capital Rice exports jasmine rice, white rice, parboiled rice as well as other varieties, to Asia, Africa, America, Europe and the Middle East.

Cargill is a privately-owned agricultural trading firm and processing firm headquartered in the US, playing a major role in world markets for grain and oilseeds processing and trading, for livestock and poultry, for cotton, and active in a range of other commodities. The company is the world’s largest food trader, with a volume of over 50 million tonnes of cereals and oilseeds/oils traded. It is, among other things, the world’s largest maize trader, accounts for 20 percent share of US wheat exports, and a quarter of Argentina’s exports of wheat, maize and soybeans. It is also actively involved in palm oil trade.

Glencore International AG is a privately-owned commodity trading house organized under the laws of Switzerland and, together with its subsidiaries is a leading trader in diversified natural resources (metal and petroleum) and a large trader in cereals.

Kuok Oils and Grains is a Singapore-based commodity trading firm, with large operations in vegetable oils such as palm and coconut oil, and in feed grains.

Louis Dreyfus, a French family firm specialized in agricultural trade, accounts for some 15 percent of world market trade in grains and oilseeds.

Marubeni, the Japanese trading house, through its Columbia Grain subsidiary in the US, is the third largest wheat exporter from the US, exporting some 3.5 million tonnes of wheat a year (3.5 percent of world trade). Marubeni also has a stake in United Grain Growers Limited, a leading Canadian wheat exporter.

Nidera is a family firm with its headquarters in The Netherlands, and major trading operations in Latin America. It annually trades some 18 million tonnes of soybeans, wheat, maize, rice and other grains.

Noble, based in Hong-Kong, is a large, diversified commodity trading company, with, among other commodities, operations in a range of grains and oilseeds.

Novel, a privately held firm based in Switzerland, is one of the world’s largest rice traders.

Olam, a trading firm headquartered in Singapore (and which is part of an Indian conglomerate), is a large rice trader, and among other things one of the principal suppliers of rice to African countries.

Peavey Co. (United States), a trading division of Conagra (a leading US diversified food company), is the fourth largest wheat exporter in the country.

Rustal, a privately-held firm based in Switzerland, is one of the world’s largest rice traders.

The Soufflet Group is France’s largest wheat buyer and miller, trading 7.5 to 8.5 million tons annually. The company is also active in a range of other cereals, vegetable oilseeds and dairy products in France and the United States.

The Rice Corporation, TRC (United States) is a major rice trading company, with worldwide operations, and rice mills in Europe, Latin America and the US.

United Harvest LLC is a joint venture between United Grain Corporation (a subsidiary of the Japanese Mitsui trading house) and Cenex Harvest States. In 1999, the company exported 5.8 million tonnes of wheat, close to 6 percent of world exports.

ZenNoh (Japan), the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, is the third largest exporter of maize from the US and the third largest soybean and oil exporter. The federation represents over 1 000 cooperatives bringing together most of Japan's 4.7 million farming households. ZenNoh also procures soybeans and oil from Canada and Australia, and is active in the rice and livestock markets in Japan.

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