ANAHEIM, Calif. — Global trade, particularly with Asia and Africa, will offer many business opportunities in the coming years, if you know what to look for.
Those who attended the Profiting from Global Trade Flow workshop at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Oct. 17 got some pointers from Gene Moses, senior agribusiness business strategist, and Barry Lee, senior industry specialist, agribusiness for International Finance Corp., Washington, D.C.
Emerging markets offer profitable investment opportunities in the fresh produce sector for a number of reasons, Moses said.
Aside from natural population growth, nutrition is becoming a higher priority in these countries, which means demand for more healthful diets and convenience foods.
International Finance Corp. has put its money where its mouth is, he said, by investing $400 million in the emerging market sector.
China is the sixth largest exporter, he said, and Africa has been “emerging from hopeless to hopeful” over the past 13 years with 1 billion consumers.
A rising middle class, urbanization and an increasing affinity for Western diets and modern retailing are springing up in these emerging markets, he said.
Lee advised those considering exporting to do some research first to ensure that their investment will be worthwhile and that appropriate safeguards are in place for produce.
There is a “trend to functional upgrading” in many emerging markets, which includes factors like Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point programs, good manufacturing practices, packaging designed to extend shelf life and low-temperature storage facilities.
Distribution also is key, but sometimes is not often developed in emerging markets because of a lack of infrastructure.
Technology will make a difference in Africa and Asia, he said. Asia and India already have much of the technology that is common in the U.S., and that’s helping countries move from primary production to exporting.
“The big challenge is the right way to capitalize on that,” he said, and that usually means choosing the right partners.