Kizable LLC’s Brian Shroeder (far left) and Michael Busby (third from left) take a moment during the Southeast Asia ATM to introduce Under Secretary Michael Scuse to one of the company’s one-on-one business meeting counterparts in the Philippines.
Southeast Asia is a rapidly growing market for U.S. farm and food products, and exporters like Florida-based Kizable Kandy are eager to meet the demand.
But Brian Schroeder, Kizable’s director, noticed his company had a gap when it came to Southeast Asia. Kizable currently ships its candy, which comes in fun, designer tins, to more than 30 countries around the world – but it didn’t have a solid customer base in Southeast Asia, despite the region’s strong economic growth and increasing demand for high-value products. Read more »
Representatives from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, United States, Paraguay and Argentina met in Panama City, Panama to discuss topics that included international organic trade arrangements, as well as organic production and handling.
Over the past decade, the production and market share of organic agriculture has increased globally, with significant growth in South and Central America. In 2008, the Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (ICOA) was founded to support organic agriculture in the Americas and facilitate the trade of organic products.
ICOA consists of agriculture officials from 18 member countries in Latin America and aims to harmonize organic standards, strengthen control systems and support market development in Latin America. The United States sources many organic products from Latin America including bananas, apples, pears, wine, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, coffee, mangoes, papayas, winter vegetables and more. Read more »
Mahogany seeds, one of the species the Dominican Republic is trying to reforest. (Photo courtesy of Toby Bloom, U.S. Forest Service)
Everyone wants to have a full bank account — including bank accounts that hold seeds.
The U.S. Forest Service recently held a workshop with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Dry Branch, Ga., focusing on ways to increase the capacity to develop and maintain a seed bank for reforestation in the Dominican Republic.
The workshop discussed methods and approaches to compiling the seeds and best practices for preservation. The workshop included seed biology and procedures that contribute towards the success of the bank. Dry Branch is the home of the USFS National Seed Laboratory. Participants of the workshop will manage the Nigua Seed Bank in the Dominican Republic. Official protocols for seed purity throughout the Dominican Republic were drafted for the new seed bank based on workshop outcomes.
Technical expertise was provided by the Forest Service with the help of an agreement with the US Agency for International Development. Through the agreement, the Forest Service aids in equipment administration as well as the training of staff and facility management.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Dominican Republic enacted the Forestry Action Plan in 1991 that established the goal of becoming a self-sufficient timber and fuelwood producer by 2016. The seed laboratory work will contribute to the achievement of this goal and the forestry improvements that the nation plans to make towards reforestation.
In November, an unprecedented Presidential Decree was passed to solidify the Government’s commitment to biological diversity and protected area habitat conservation. The seed bank workshop contributed to these goals.
For more information on these and other projects, take a look at the U.S. Forest Service International Programs website.