USDA trade mission aims to expand sub-Saharan Africa markets

Poultry, meat and grain organizations take part in efforts to grow export opportunities

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden is leading a trade mission to promote U.S. agricultural trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The trade mission launches USDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, which aims to expand U.S. agricultural commercial ties in the region. The mission will conclude on September 20.

The delegation is visiting South Africa and Mozambique to learn first-hand about the region’s rapidly evolving market conditions and business environment – information that will enable agribusinesses to develop export strategies for sub-Saharan Africa. The mission includes 18 U.S. companies and 16 U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations that represent a variety of agricultural products. The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, Land O’ Lakes, Purina Animal Nutrition, J.M. Grain, Tri-States Grain Conditioning, American Soybean Association, National Renderers Association, North American Millers Association, U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation are among the participating companies and trade associations, who will meet with African buyers during the week.

“Many U.S. agribusinesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – are beginning to appreciate the opportunities for trade and investment in Africa,” said Harden. “This initiative will establish relationships between U.S. and African businesses and support agricultural growth throughout the region.”

Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic outlook, growing middle class and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods creates a promising market for U.S. food and agricultural products. Since 2003, U.S. agricultural exports to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than 200 percent. In 2012, bilateral agricultural trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa totaled more than $4.75 billion.

In addition to the trade mission, USDA and South African officials will meet to discuss bilateral trade issues and visit food aid projects funded by USDA’s Food for Progress Program in Mozambique. The USDA trade initiative supports the “U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa” plan outlined by President Obama in June 2012.