With its growing consumer market and interest in high quality food products, Latin America offers many opportunities for Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food exporters.

The International Relations and Marketing (IRM) Section of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) coordinated an incoming trade mission for Latin American agri-food importers, July 28 to 31, 2019, to continue building on the successes Alberta companies have found in the region. The delegation included buyers from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico who were interested in commodities and value-added products offered by the Alberta agri-food suppliers.

Anchored by more than 50 robust one-on-one meetings taking place between buyers and Alberta exporters, the mission saw deals closed and sales confirmed before the delegation even departed from Alberta. For some of the Alberta companies, it was their first time meeting with Latin American buyers. For others, countries in Latin America already serve as important markets for their products.

The delegation was briefed on the strengths of Alberta’s agri-food sector in addition to the business meeting program. Presentations by representatives from InnoTech Alberta on the hemp industry, Prairie Oat Growers Association, and Organic Alberta, showcased the depth and breadth of Alberta’s agricultural resources and agri-food products.

To profile Alberta’s high production standards, the delegation toured two agri-food production facilities – BioNeutra and the Food Processing Developing Centre (FPDC). BioNeutra is Canada’s leading producer of Isomaltooligosaccharide (IMO), a low calorie, non-sugar sweetener. FPDC is a 6,000 sq m  facility with a commercial pilot plant, culinary and product development laboratories and sensory analysis capabilities.

International buyers reported the program a success. “We are finishing receiving the offers of the exporters we met with and we expect to establish orders in the coming days,” reported Mr. Jacinto Jacome, general manager of Ecuador-based importer and distributor, Jacombe y Ortiz de Comercio. “I can confirm my satisfaction with the development of the Alberta program - it was very well organized!”

Feedback from the Alberta suppliers was also positive.

“Many of the Alberta suppliers were pleased with the calibre of buyers at this event, and AF’s support for entering these markets,” says Meghan Horosko, trade and relations officer with AF, who led the coordination of this initiative. “Alberta’s agri-food industry is export-oriented and market diversification is important, especially in the current international environment. Our companies know that as well, so it’s our job to drive the exchange of business, especially in markets like Latin America, where opportunities are growing.”

AF organized this mission in collaboration with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership. This event follows AF’s July 2018 agriculture trade mission to Colombia and Peru, and was a catalyst for AF’s August 2019 incoming Panama buyers mission. Potential Alberta sales are estimated at $600,000.

Contact

For more information about this trade mission, connect with Meghan Horosko:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-7195
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: meghan.horosko@gov.ab.ca