In the bustling week from October 29 to November 1, 2023, the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council (USADPLC) embarked on an insightful journey to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This expedition was more than a mere travel itinerary; it was a strategic immersion into key events such as the U.S. Co-operators Roundtable, a Plenary session, and the USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission. Beyond conference rooms, the team actively engaged with local canners and importers, as well as explored high-end supermarkets to gain a deeper understanding of the market. This immersive trip not only served as a platform for fostering international collaborations but also opened doors to a deeper understanding of the intricate tapestry that shapes the region’s agricultural landscape.

Key Events Unveiled

U.S. Co-operators Roundtable: The journey commenced with the U.S. Co-operators Roundtable, a significant gathering featuring Under Secretary Alexis Taylor. Each U.S. cooperator took a brief moment to introduce themselves and shed light on key market issues. Guided by Mr. Timothy Harrison, FAS Regional Agricultural Counselor, the session concluded with a closing speech by Charge’ d’ Affaires Manu Bhalla, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Plenary Session: Following the roundtable, the USADPLC actively participated in a Plenary session moderated by Karen Richards, Regional Agricultural Counselor, Foreign Agricultural Service, Kuala Lumpur. The session unveiled valuable insights about Halal certification, the influence of social media in the market, key sectors in Food & Beverage, emerging trends, and crucial considerations for exporters. An enlightening overview of the Malaysia and Singapore market added depth to the discussion.

Agribusiness Trade Mission Welcome Reception: The highlight of the trip took place at the Agribusiness Trade Mission Welcome Reception, which was hosted at EQ Hotel Kuala Lumpur. With attendees including FAS Malaysia & Singapore, key local trade industry representatives, U.S. cooperators, and exporter associations, this networking opportunity served to strengthen trade relations and pave the way for expanding U.S. food and agricultural exports in the region.

Connecting with Industry Players

Lanc Corporation: As one of the leading canned food producers in Malaysia, Lanc Corporation has consistently sourced U.S. chickpeas for their “Sun Star” brand, proudly displaying the USADPLC SFQ logo on the packaging. While their primary stronghold is in the Eastern Malaysia and Brunei region, a notable surge of nearly 20% in their Western Malaysia food service sector has been attributed to the post-pandemic recovery. Facilitating strategic connections, USADPLC SE Asia successfully linked Lanc Corporation with PT Kulinari Boga Semesta, an Indonesian importer. The connection has proven to be proven fruitful, with substantial orders and a growing partnership.

DS Borneo Trading Sdn Bhd: Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, DS Borneo Trading stands as a notable food and beverage importer and distributor, offering a diverse range of products available at prominent outlets such as Cold Storage, Jason Food Hall, Mercato, Jaya Grocer, Oliver Gourmet, and Village Grocer. In a meeting with Adeline Tang, the General Manager, the USADPLC took the opportunity to express their support and actively engaged in discussions aimed at formulating strategies to boost the sales of U.S. dry peas, lentils, and chickpeas in the Southeast Asian market.

Resource Food Supplies (M) Sdn Bhd: Founded in 1991, Resource Food Supplies is a distinguished player in the import and export sector, focusing on food commodities, raw materials, and ingredients. With a keen interest in U.S. whole and split peas, the company is now actively seeking opportunities to expand collaborations with other suppliers of U.S. peas, lentils, and chickpeas.

Qra Sdn Bhd: As a distinguished high-end supermarket chain with plans for expansion, Qra is actively involved in sourcing and retailing U.S. chickpeas under their in-house brand. During the recent visit, the USADPLC introduced themselves and the council’s supportive role, setting the stage for deeper collaborations aimed at elevating the sales of U.S. pulses across Southeast Asia.