East Africa: Organic food producers set for visit to United States

East Africa: Organic food producers set for visit to United States
Published date:
Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Producers of natural and organic foods will be sponsored to attend a global trade show in the United States.

The sponsorship to be managed by ECA Hub - a trade initiative of the United States Development Agency (USAID) aims to help African businesses to take advantage of trade opportunities in the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). These include duty-free treatment and unlimited access to the United States market.

The natural products trade show offers Kenyan participants the opportunity meet US based partners that they can use to break into the American market.

Last year more than 47,000 people attended the show, sampling over 3,000 exhibits. Known as Natural Products Expo-West, the show is set for March 14 to 16 in Anaheim, California.

It will open two months after ECA Hub sponsored eight companies from the region to the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishing Market in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms Njoki Mungai, the public relations officer at the ECA Hub, said selection of companies that benefit from the sponsorship is done at random and is at times done with the help of associations such as the Export Promotion Council. Beneficiaries of the sponsorship must, however, be export ready.

The programme was started in 2003 to improve the competitiveness of African products and services, expand the role of trade in poverty reduction and promote US-Africa business linkages.

Phase one of the sponsorship worth Sh700 million ends in September, this year.

Past beneficiaries of the sponsorship include K-Net Flowers that received in-field technical assistance and sponsorship to the World Floral Expo in Miami, Florida in 2006 and 2007.

Mr Mike King’ori, the managing director, said the exposure has enabled the firm to deepen its penetration of the US market with tangible results on the bottomline.

Kenya does not have direct flights to the US despite strong demand for East African flowers.

Last year, ECA Hub sponsored Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzanian companies for various trade shows across United States that resulted in Sh1.4 billion worth of incremental export sales to the enterprises.

Leading US exports to Africa include aircraft and parts, oil & gas field machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, oilseeds and grains, construction machinery, and petroleum and coal products in that order.

 

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