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OTA organic trade show.jpg OTA Flickr

Organic industry plans robust export promotion in 2020

Efforts bolstered by $3 million from USDA’s Market Access Program.

The Organic Trade Assn. (OTA) will be showcasing American organic products at events throughout the world in 2020, from the world’s biggest organic trade show in Germany and the largest trade show in the Gulf Region to the leading retail shows in the Pacific Rim, Australia and Canada.

Bolstered by awards totaling almost $3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, OTA’s robust export promotion efforts in 2020 and beyond will return to tested venues to build on earlier successes and participate for the first time in exciting and potentially significant new markets.

In December, USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) awarded $812,786 to OTA. Earlier in the year, the association received funds totaling $1.127 million from USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program to be used over the course of three years.

OTA also has received funding for two Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops programs. The first project, with funding of $268,400 to be used over two years, will develop an equivalency application template for other countries to use when applying for organic equivalency with the U.S. The second project, with funding of $687,000 over a three-year period, revolves around the changing regulations in the European Union and possible impacts on U.S. organic exporters.

“The significant export promotion funding from USDA is allowing the Organic Trade Assn. to both explore new markets and dig in deeper where we have seen success in recent years,” OTA manager of international trade Alexis Carey said. “Right now, U.S. companies are uniquely situated to expand and diversify the global organic marketplace, and we want to enable them to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available.”

OTA has been an official cooperator in USDA’s MAP for almost 20 years now, investing in the promotion of American organic agricultural products in global markets and connecting buyers and sellers to create new organic customers around the world.

International activities spearheaded by the trade association reached new heights in 2019 with the advent of additional funding from USDA. By the end of 2019, OTA will have led 11 international events in seven different countries, from Asia to the Middle East, Europe and South America.

Between MAP and the ATP program, more than $1 million in USDA export promotion funding was put to use in attending domestic and international trade shows, leading trade missions and buyer missions and conducting consumer promotion activities in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In Cologne, Germany, at the Anuga trade show, the largest food and beverage trade show in the world, OTA hosted an Organic Pavilion showcasing organic products from 12 U.S. organic companies, nine of which were new to the show. The participating companies estimated that they generated more than $13 million in new sales at the show.

A successful trade mission to Seoul, South Korea, in November resulted in projected new sales of more than $7 million for four participating U.S. companies.

In early December, four organic companies participated in a trade mission to the Middle East Natural & Organic show in Dubai, where they met with regional buyers and learned more about export opportunities to the Gulf region.

Canada is the largest export market for U.S. organic products, and OTA will lead five American organic companies to SIAL Canada in Montreal, Que., in April.

In the U.K. and the EU, OTA is collaborating with Foreign Agricultural Service offices in London, U.K., and The Hague, Netherlands, to lead an organic trade mission to these two regions for the first time in conjunction with the Free from Functional Food Expo in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This event will give U.S. exporters a better understanding of the European market and two major import centers.

In France, the association will attend two headline events: the IFOAM World Congress in Rennes, France, and SIAL Paris, the largest trade show in the world for food and beverage products. There, OTA will host a group of U.S. organic exporters and meet with buyers from around the world.

In South Korea, Mexico, Japan, UAE and South America, OTA will partner with local retailers to promote U.S. organic products in retail stores, through seminars or at other organic-centered events.

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