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KDA Participates in USDA Trade Mission to South Africa

On October 29–November 2, the Kansas Department of Agriculture participated in a trade mission to South Africa led by U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. The trade mission focused on expanding export opportunities for U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses by encouraging free, fair and reciprocal trade throughout the Southern Africa region.

The team representing Kansas on the trade mission included: Thad Geiger, Kansas Board of Agriculture vice chair and U.S. Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE) consultant; Monty and Jean Teeter and Jacques Willemse, Dragon-Line; and Suzanne Ryan-Numrich, KDA international trade director.

The team visited Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, and had one-on-one meetings with potential customers from several Southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“There are many opportunities for U.S. livestock genetics as Southern Africa looks to grow and improve their livestock industry,” stated Geiger. “It has been said that 80 percent of trade occurs in established relationships. Great relationships lay the foundation for future trade opportunities. This was a beneficial mission in that regard.” Historically, Southern Africa has been a reliable consumer of Kansas grains. In 2017, Kansas exported over $15 million in cereal grains to the region with the top export being wheat.

“In a time of trade uncertainty, we must look at other markets to diversify. Southern Africa is typically a net importer of agricultural goods and we are excited about the potential to grow our market share in the region,” said Ryan-Numrich. “The region has a strong economy and a rapidly growing middle class which appreciates price-competitive, high-quality U.S. agricultural products.

While reflecting on the trade mission upon his return, Teeter said “’Water scarcity’ are words recognized by farmers around the world. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to provide a solution for desperate farmers who are trying to irrigate their crops with less and less available water and we are looking forward to being part of the water scarcity solution in Africa.”

This trade mission was organized by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. KDA travel was fully funded by U.S. Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE),  a not-for-profit, nationwide trade association representing livestock and horse breeding industries. KDA strives to encourage and enhance economic growth of the agriculture industry and the Kansas economy by exploring and expanding both domestic and international marketing opportunities. For information on this or other international trade missions, please contact Suzanne Ryan-Numrich at suzanne.numrich@ks.gov or call 785-564-6704.