Laura Batcha, executive director, Organic Trade Association & Melissa Hughes, board president, OTA

Organic Trade Association continues organic export promotion

Trade group works within USDA’s Market Access Program to create new organic markets, additional organic exporters.

Under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program, the Organic Trade Association will have $847,000 in 2018 to continue expanding foreign markets for U.S. organic exporters.

The Market Access Program is a cost-sharing program in which the USDA and agricultural trade associations market and promote U.S. agricultural commodities and products around the world. The USDA awarded the OTA $754,464 from the 2018 allocation, and passed along $92,536 in funds that other program partners did not use, OTA spokeswoman Maggie McNeil wrote in an email. "This is the first time that the Organic Trade Association has been awarded any carryover funds in addition to the yearly allocation," she wrote.

This year, the OTA expanded its promotion of U.S. exports on four continents: South and North America, Europe and Asia; and added five first-time markets: Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Finland and Hong Kong. Working with major retailers in Korea, Japan, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, the Association aims to increase the availability of U.S.-grown and -produced organic products already in those countries.

At the Anuga trade show in Cologne, Germany—the largest food and beverage trade show in the world—the Organic Trade Association hosted an Organic Pavilion that showcased organic products from eight American organic companies that were first-time exhibitors at the gigantic show. The participating companies estimated they generated more than $7 million in new sales at the show.

“Our export promotion programs work. In all of the countries where we do activity, U.S. organic exports to those regions have grown,” said Monique Marez, director of international trade for the Organic Trade Association. “The organic industry can't happen without trade, and we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2018 to help expand the organic market.”

Another full schedule of organic activities around the world is planned for 2018:

  • In Germany, the Organic Trade Association will host its largest Organic Pavilion ever at the BioFach World Organic Fair in February, the world's leading organic food show.
  • In Australia, the Organic Trade Association will participate for the first time in April at the Australian Naturally Good Show.
  • In Israel, the Organic Trade Association will lead its first trade mission to the Middle East.
  • In Dubai, Hong Kong and Japan, the Organic Trade Association will focus on retailer partnerships and demonstrate U.S. organic to consumers.
  • In the U.S., the Organic Trade Association will expand an existing partnership with FoodExport Midwest and Northeast and co-host a Buyers' Mission to both the Natural Products Expo West and Expo East trade shows.

The Organic Trade Association has been an official cooperator in USDA's Market Access Program for since 1999. The organization received $845,9456 in 2017 and $889,393 in 2016, according to USDA records.

“We thank the USDA for appreciating the importance of our export promotion activities and supporting our work,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association. “There are huge opportunities—and challenges—for the U.S. organic sector throughout the world, and we're helping the industry to take advantage of those opportunities in untapped markets and to meet the challenges created by the growing global appetite for organic.”

The membership of the Organic Trade Associations provides the bulk of U.S. organic exports. The market promotion activities administered by the association are open to the entire organic industry, not just association members.

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