Prograin brings soybean growers to Japan


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrograin recently organised a visit of Japan with 21 Quebec soybean growers


Prograin annually exports to Japan thousands of tons of soybeans for human consumption. The St-Césaire plant has significantly strengthened its ties with its Japanese clients. From February 27th to March 8th, 2014, no less than 21 Quebec soybean growers have had the privilege of staying in the Empire of the Rising Sun.


This trip was a blend of business and tourism: visit of Prograin soybean transformers, a tofu workshop and rich cultural discoveries with unique scenery. But above all, farmers of La Belle Province were able to meet those who transform their soybeans across the Pacific Ocean.


By air, by bus and by high speed train, the Quebec delegation, composed of 21 growers and four Prograin employees, crossed the center of the Japanese archipelago, from Kyoto to Osaka, including Tokyo.


Maxime Gratton, territory sales manager for Western Quebec, could not be happier with the experience. “We had privileged access to two processing plants, he said. Our Japanese customers have shown us their seriousness. The welcome was very warm. “


Isabelle Malo, exportation coordinator can only reinforce: “That the Quebec producers were able to meet and to discuss directly with Japanese transformers, is in my opinion an immense advantage. And the fact that these transformers highlighted the importance of the soybean quality is only increasing the rising awareness of the producers to surpass themselves,” she explains.


Alain Létourneau, President of Prograin , is pleased with its initiative. “We knew that by organizing a trip to Japan, our producers would live all kinds of emotions. I wanted them to meet our Japanese customers in their environment so that they understand the mentality focused on quality and food safety. They realized that their soybean is consumed by millions of people,” he said.


Evelyne Ferland and her husband Sébastien Ricard are young soybean growers established in Saint -Alexis -de- Montcalm, in the Lanaudière region. Their trip to Japan was exotic with a rich cultural perspective.” It was a pleasure to see that our work is appreciated, says Ms. Ferland. Also, this trip allowed us to know the Prograin team. They are professionals who are passionate about what they do.”


Despite the jet lag, Daniel Belval has also enjoyed his stay in the Japanese archipelago. “Even if the Japanese appreciate our soybeans, nothing should be taken for granted. We must continue to work hard if we want to keep our place,” says one who devotes 50 acres to soybeans in Sainte -Hélène de Bagot, near Saint -Hyacinthe.


All agree that the Japanese people are warm, polite and welcoming.home was very warm. Visiting temples, tasting traditional dishes, spending a night in a traditional hotel and experience the thermal baths “Onsen”, all among other activities, those were memorable.