North Dakota companies returned from a trade mission to Peru last month, led by Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and focused on the state’s pulse exports. Four North Dakota companies traveled to Lima on April 23 to promote their beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils to Peruvian buyers during tours, meetings and the inaugural North Dakota-Peru ‘Better for You Food Ingredients’ Conference and Exhibition.
Trade mission organizers included the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) and BusinessHub, a boutique consulting firm with headquarters in Santiago, Chile and an office in Lima that specializes in assisting foreign companies with expansion into the Latin American market. The Northern Crops Institute (NCI), North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service’s (USDA FAS) Lima Office assisted in creating a successful mission.
The trade mission began April 24 with delegates participating in US Embassy events focused on Peru’s agriculture industry and economic conditions. After meeting with US Ambassador Brian A. Nichols and BusinessHub team members, the delegation toured several of the largest and most popular Peruvian supermarkets and gourmet stores that sell healthy food ingredients.
The North Dakota-Peru ‘Better for You Food Ingredients’ Conference & Exhibition was held on April 25 with Commissioner Goehring and North Dakota companies presenting on specialty crops to an audience of 75 Peruvian buyers, research and development specialists and food manufacturers. Private Peruvian trade organizations and the USDA FAS presented, as well. The afternoon saw NCI food scientist Natsuki Fujiwara speaking on North Dakota pulse ingredients, pulse nutrition and trends followed by a cooking demonstration preparing Peruvian foods with ND pulse ingredients.
The exhibition portion gave North Dakota specialty crop companies further opportunities to show their high-quality products to potential buyers with table-top exhibits and one-on-one meetings.
On April 26, delegates met with and toured the largest Peruvian consumer goods company that imports a huge range of food ingredients, as well as Peru’s largest importer of dried, leguminous vegetables.
Commissioner Goehring attended meetings with leaders from the Peru Ministry of Trade and Tourism and the Lima Chamber of Commerce.
“Peru is a fast-growing, stable economy with some infrastructure setbacks,” said Goehring. “But the pulse market is highly promising. Pulses are a staple of the Peruvian diet and with the food processing industry taking off here, they want healthy, traceable pulse ingredients, for which North Dakota is known.”
This was the second North Dakota trade mission to Peru after the NDTO led a trade mission to the country in 2008.
Trade mission participants were able receive reimbursement for approved travel expenses through the NDTO’s Specialty Crop Program, a reimbursement program authorized by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the USDA. The NDTO’s Specialty Crop Program provides funding to eligible business concerns to increase global market visibility and competitiveness of the North Dakota specialty crop sector.
The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership so that NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.