With its burgeoning middle-class, its growing interest in high quality food products and its key geographic location as a distribution hub, Panama offers major opportunities for Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food exporters to enter the Latin American market.

The International Relations and Marketing (IRM) Section of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) led an incoming mission for Panama agri-food buyers from August 21 to 23, 2019. The delegation included three major Panama distributors - Mercalimentos, Market World, and Compania Alimentos - that supply supermarkets in Panama and distribute to over 12 countries in Central and South America.

The delegation began its visit to Alberta at Canada Beef’s Centre of Excellence, where buyers met with Canada Beef representatives and received presentations on Alberta’s cattle industry. The presentations highlighted Alberta beef’s high quality and grading standards and how Alberta beef sets itself apart from the competition. The delegation was also able to sample a number of beef cuts prepared by the professional chefs at the Centre.

Following the visit to the Centre of Excellence, the delegation met with Harmony Beef and toured its state of the art facility, which demonstrated Alberta’s high production standard and established a relationship between the Alberta meat packer and the buyers.

The mission included two days of productive business-to-business meetings in Calgary and Edmonton, where over 36 one-on-one meetings took place between the Panama buyers and 12 different Alberta agri-food companies. Alberta companies participating included suppliers of beef, grains, seeds, pulses, canola oil, snack products, potatoes, and artificial sweeteners. Alberta suppliers reported a number of successful deals and opportunities as a result of the meetings.

The Panama delegation reported the program a success. “I found many business opportunities, business partners, and potential commercial partners,” said one buyer. “Kudos to the Government of Alberta for the professional service. We will for sure be doing business with Alberta.” Another buyer concluded that the business-to-business meetings had been the “cherry on top” of a productive and fruitful visit. The buyers were impressed with Alberta’s high quality products and standards, and the professionalism of the Alberta companies.

The mission was organized in collaboration with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership. The event follows AF's incoming mission of Latin American buyers, July 28 to 31, 2019, which comprised of buyers from Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador. Potential sales from the Panama incoming mission are estimated at over $3 million. Another visit is tentatively planned for April 2020.

Contact

For more information on this trade mission, contact Steven Jarvis:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-641-9936
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: steven.jarvis@gov.ab.ca