Foreign Ag Service Says They’re Working On It

We hear from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that work is underway to build export relationships.

Most recently, the U.S. hosted one of its largest trade missions ever to India. Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley says nearly 80 people representing U.S. agribusinesses came along.

Why India? India has passed China in being the most populated country with more than 1.4 billion people. The U.S. is negotiating with India to lower tariffs, Whitley says.

Some of the commodities that India has reduced tariffs on since last summer have been chickpeas, apples, frozen turkey, and cranberries, just to name a few. Whitley says this is a sign that India is moving toward a more free and fair trading playing field, but it’s a little slow to his liking.

Whitley says the Foreign Ag Service is paying attention to dairy. They’ve been focused on boosting China’s participation in cheese purchases.

“We’re hearing about the opportunities for… pizza cheese,” he says. “Folks in China seem very interested in increasing consumption of those commodities, and I think America’s dairy industry can take advantage of that.”

Whitley says there is a growing middle class, and therefore purchasing power, in countries we haven’t been targeting before, such as Africa and the Middle East.

He says there’s a growing demand for frozen dinners among these populations that include those higher-value specialty crops from Wisconsin: potatoes, peas, and beans.

Seventy percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30. The Foreign Ag Service is projecting Africa to have a quarter of the global population by 2050.

Listen to a recent story about Wisconsin ginseng joining the trade mission to India: