January 11, 2005
Feeding the millions of people around the world who go hungry each day, and providing them with food that may make them healthier and stronger, was a major focus of market development efforts in 2004.
U.S. Dry Bean Council representatives and/or members visited Mexico, Madagascar, China, the Middle East and several African countries. Work involved providing food aid buyers with information about dry beans; gaining a better understanding of food aid issues, problems and opportunities; evaluating potential new markets for dry beans; assessing crop development in countries that import and export dry beans and reviewing dry bean consumption trends.
The U.S. Dry Bean Council also promoted the value of U.S. dry beans at food shows in Germany, Spain, Japan and South Africa.
Other important activities included:
" Meeting with Iraqi food aid ministers to pave the way for dry beans imports.
" Working with French foodservices to increase their use of U.S. beans.
" Sponsoring the annual Bean Congress in Mexico.
" Negotiating with Mexican government to lift a ban it imposed on U.S. dry bean imports early last year.
" Hosting reverse trade teams from Japan and several private volunteer organizations that buy food aid from the U.S.
" Maintaining offices and representatives in France, Spain, Japan, Mexico and Brazil to monitor trade policy, market opportunities, product trends and crop production in major markets.
The U.S. Dry Bean Council participated in the Beans for Health Alliance, a new group formed to administer a $1.5 million match grant from USAID. The alliance conducts, gathers and disseminate research on how dry beans can improve the health of world populations, especially those at risk from HIV AIDS and others life-threatening diseases.
Other Alliance members include the American Dry Bean Board, Bush Brothers Company, H.J. Heinz, WorldVision International and a consortium of universities.