In conjunction with this week's Africa Summit, in which leaders from 51 African nations gathered in Washington to discuss the continent's economic advancement potential, representatives from the American Soybean Association's World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program (WISHH) met with key officials to detail the successful work of the program to date in Africa, and new projects on the horizon.
WISHH Executive Director Jim Hershey met with U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service officials focusing on agricultural development in Africa and discussing the future of projects and larger efforts through which U.S. farmers help to sustain and develop emerging markets in Africa.
Also part of the summit was the U.S. Africa Business Forum, at which the White House underscored the importance of trade with Africa and the significant potential that fast growing economies and talented entrepreneurs represent for U.S. goods and jobs. Speakers at the summit encouraged the expansion of trade to more African countries through trade missions, financing programs and larger teams on the ground to facilitate business between the U.S. and Africa.
Hershey, WISHH Chairman Andy Welden and other farmer leaders found this acknowledgement heartening, as the WISHH program has been building links between U.S. soy exporters and importers in seven countries-a list that is growing. In 2014, exports of U.S. isolated soy protein, soy flour and textured soy protein has exceeded $1 million to countries such as Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal.
One such market, Uganda, has imported over $200,000 of value added soy protein the past three years.
In partnership with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of USDA and utilizing FAS funding through the Globally Based Initiative (GBI) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, WISHH is reaching out to a growing list of countries promoting the use of U.S. soy protein in foods. WISHH farmer leaders also directed the program to develop connections with the feed and livestock sectors in targeted countries.
Thanks to funding from USDA's Emerging Markets Program (EMP) WISHH has developed a strategy to promote trade in U.S. soy to the feed, poultry and aquaculture sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. Welden, a farmer from Jonesville, Mich., highlighted, "Soy in food is great, but worldwide, chickens eat a lot more soy than people do, and Africa won't be any different once they see its use and value."
WISHH is a trade-development organization. Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, it has worked in 24 countries to develop long-term markets for U.S. soybean farmers while fueling economic growth and value chain development. The WISHH program is managed from ASA's world headquarters in St. Louis. For more information, visit www.wishh.org.