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West Africa presents opportunities for U.S. agricultural products

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Department of Agriculture officials completed their second-to-last 2019 trade mission.

Several companies and organizations joined Agency officials this week in West Africa.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky this week (October 28 – October 31) lead agribusiness officials, cooperator organizations and elected leaders to West Africa. Censky relays, “The (trade) mission was two-fold.”

“One has been to unlock new trade opportunities for U.S. agriculture in West Africa, where they are experiencing strong economic growth,” That’s driving demand for increasing food products. Two is to support the Administration’s Prosper Africa Initiative, which seeks to strengthen the United States’ commercial ties in Africa, and foster fair and reciprocal trade with countries in Africa,” Deputy Secretary Censky said. 

Participants conducted almost 500 business-to-business meetings. Preliminary survey results suggest businesses will yield $11.5 million in sales over 12 months. Censky further adds, “West Africa presents great opportunities for U.S. agricultural products.”

“The West Africa nations have a growing middle class and rising incomes, which provide a great opportunity for a host of food and other agricultural products,” Censky said. “Some examples: We’ve had a number of U.S. livestock genetic associations here. West Africa is interested in improving their livestock production, productivity. Having access to improved genetics is one way to do that.”

Rising incomes present opportunities for U.S. agricultural byproducts, such as ethanol.

“With rising incomes, you have demand for ‘ready-to-eat’ food products. We’ve had a number of exports sending numerous ‘ready-to-eat’ food products, as well as meat, corn, soy, wheat and ethanol,” Censky said. “In West Africa, they’re using another product as an octane enhancer rather than ethanol. It is a product with some corrosive effects on not only gas tanks and engines, but also health and environment.”

USDA officials will travel to Mexico City, Mexico in November for one final trade mission.