USDA secretary to lead trade mission to Africa

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is coordinating a mission to sub-Saharan Africa with hopes to expand export opportunities for the United States.

"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," Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden, who will lead the mission, said. "Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to this region increased by more than 50 percent, totaling $2.3 billion in 2014."

Last year, the top sub-Saharan African markets for the U.S. were Nigeria ($847 million), Angola ($298 million) South Africa ($259 million), Ghana ($129 million), Kenya ($69 million) and Ethiopia ($83 million). 

Along with Harden, U.S. agricultural companies and commodity trade associations will send representatives on the trip. Many of the participants come from small- to medium-sized businesses owned by women, minorities and/or veterans. The group will travel to meet  customers from more than a dozen sub-Saharan countries to explore the market and business environment of the countries.

Groups participating in the trade mission include the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA from Springfield, Illinois; Tysons Foods, Inc., from Springdale, Arkansas; and Zafi Beverages from Bensenville, Illinois. USDA Cooperators participating are the American Soybean Association, of St. Louis, Missouri; the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, of Stone Mountain, Georgia.; the U.S. Meat Export Federation, from Denver, Colorado; and the USA Rice Federation, from Arlington, Virginia.

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