For example, USDA purchased 1500 metric tons of soybeans for the processing plant’s use from Perdue’s partnership with Commercial Lynks, a Virginia-based trading company. Perdue has more than 70 grain elevators east of the Mississippi River and used Michigan and Ohio soybeans for the USDA purchase. The soybean sale further contributed to the U.S. economy as the shipment loaded at a port facility in Chesapeake, Virginia. 

According to Perdue Grain and Oilseed Vice President John Cassidy, developing country markets represent a growing demand for U.S. feed ingredients. “WISHH is an important tool to expand markets in the U.S. soybean industry,” says Cassidy, who also appreciates the importance of USDA backing of the financing in countries that have immature banking sectors.

In 2011, the project also assisted 891 Afghan farmers, including 91 women, in producing the country’s first commercial crop of soybeans on a total of approximately 450 acres. This year, 3,325 Afghan farmers, including 300 women, are planting soybeans through SARAI. 

The U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense contributed to this success by assisting ASA’s WISHH with military air transport of the Stine soybean seeds from Illinois to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The shipment was then trucked to farmers in a northern province. In 2011-12, a combined total of approximately 50 metric tons of U.S. soybean seeds went to Afghanistan for farmers to plant.

In addition to generating income for subsistence farmers who typically have less than an acre of land, the soybeans are priming the growth of oilseed demand in the country. Currently, Afghanistan imports more than 90 percent of its cooking oil. Much of that is palm oil. Afghanistan’s poultry and livestock industries also look to expand with quality meal from oilseed crops, such as soybeans.

Since being founded by U.S. soybean farmers in 2000, WISHH has worked in 24 countries to improve diets, as well as encouraged growth of food industries. The WISHH program is managed from ASA’s world headquarters in St. Louis. For more information, visit www.wishh.org