USDA recruits participants for trade mission to North Africa

By Erin Voegele | January 09, 2020

The USDA announced on Jan. 2 it is recruiting interested U.S. exporters for its first 2020 trade mission, which will take place in Casablanca, Morocco, on March 16-19. The mission will focus on boosting U.S. agricultural exports to all of North Africa and will include interested buyers from Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.

The USDA said this will be the second trade mission it has led to Africa within six months. The event will support the administration’s Prosper Africa initiative to foster two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa. With North Africa’s growing demand for food and feed products, the agency said the region is fertile ground for U.S. agricultural export sales.

While in Casablanca, trade mission delegates will participate in business-to-business meetings with potential customers coordinated by local staff from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service . FAS and industry trade experts will also guide participants through in-depth briefings and site visits to provide insights into exporting to the region.

U.S. Grains Council data shows Morocco imported 218,395 tons of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) during the 2018-’19 crop year, up from only 100,794 tons during the 2014-’15 crop year. The country has not imported any U.S. ethanol during the last three crop years. USGC data also shows Algeria is not currently a purchaser of U.S. DDGS. The country however, imported a small amount of U.S. ethanol, approximately 16,000 gallons, during the 2018-’19 crop year. In addition, USGC data shows Libya imported a small volume—125 tons—of DDGS during the 2018-’19 crop year, but no ethanol. Although Tunisia did import more than 41.41 million gallons of U.S. ethanol during the 2014-’15 crop year, it has not imported any of the product since that time. The country, however, has been a modest importer of U.S. DDGS, with imports reaching 20,947 tons during the 2018-’19 crop year, down slightly from 21,299 tons during the previous crop year.

The deadline to apply for the USDA’s North Africa trade mission is Jan. 16. Additional information is available on the USDA website.