January 24, 2007
Northarvest Hires Consultant for Caribbean Market
Northarvest has hired consultant Jois Alaby, a native of Brazil, to represent Northarvest in the Caribbean region.
Alaby represented the former National Dry Bean Council, now part of the U.S. Dry Bean Council, for ten years in Brazil. He has a degree in Agriculture and is currently working towards a degree in International Relations.
Alaby also represents the USA Rice Federation in the Caribbean, including Cuba, Central America and South America. Alaby and his family recently moved to Costa Rica to be closer to the U.S. main export markets.
Northarvest will take advantage of Alabys presence in the Caribbean by sharing travel expenses with the USA Rice Federation. Rice and dry beans are a main staple for many in the Caribbean, and efforts to build markets for both commodities simultaneously come in as a perfect match. Alaby has already had several meetings with Alimport, the main buying agency for dry beans into Cuba.
With the recent change in Congress, there is hope for improvements in the U.S. sanctions imposed against Cuba. CEO Stuart Proctor, with the USA Rice Federation, has initiated a strategic plan to organize a task force in Washington that would bring together a number of agricultural/livestock cooperating groups such as poultry, wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice under a periodical US-Cuba Trade Conference. Dry beans would be represented within this task force as well. Alimport CEO Pedro Alvarez has expressed his support of the initiative.
Despite some trade restrictions still in place (key among them is that no U.S. public or private credit is allowed for Cuban trade) Cuba already ranks 6th in the top 35 export market for U.S. pulses. In 2006 alone, estimates are that exports will reach 14,886 metric tons, up 110% compared to 2005.
NY Times Spotlights Cuban Influence in U.S. Food Markets
The New York Times recently featured a story on the long-term consequence of Fidel Castros policies stretching back to the early 1960s: a thriving Cuban-émigré-owned food processing industry in the Los Angeles area that serves a growing market nationwide for Hispanic foods.
Among those featured was C&F Foods, one of the largest packers of dry beans in the U.S., based in City of Industry, a 49-year-old industrial city east of Los Angeles. C&F Foods was founded in 1975 by a Cuban émigré, Jose Fernandez. It is run today by his grandson Luis Faura, and has become a large processor and distributor of beans favored by Latinos: pinto, black, red and others.
Beans have grown in popularity with rising appreciation among consumers for their high-fiber, high-protein health attributes and with the growth of Hispanic populations in all parts of the country.
We have a distribution center in North Carolina that supplies the Southeast, Faura said in the article. It never was a big market before but now there are people from South America and Mexico and El Salvador in Atlanta and Raleigh and everywhere.
Canada Plans Human Clinical Trials on Pulse Crop Health Benefits
Pulse Canada (www.pulsecanada.com) has allocated $1.25 million (Canadian) through its Pulse Innovation Project to support five human clinical trials studying the human health benefits of eating pulse crops such as peas, beans and lentils. Four of the trials will be conducted at Canadian universities and research institutions and one will be conducted at a U.S. university.
The primary focus of these projects is the reduction in the incidence of obesity and other risk factors related to two major health issues: diabetes and heart disease. The studies include investigations in new areas of interest such as the effects of eating pulses on hormones related to body fat accumulation and blood vessel hardening, as well as the effects of eating pulses on satiety and appetite.
Existing research suggests that pulses may be beneficial in many areas of health promotion such as reducing risk of obesity and prevention of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. However available scientific data proving these health benefits is more limited than in other crops such as soybeans or oats.
Proof of health benefits for pulses would provide additional incentives for consumers to purchase products containing pulses, dietitians and health professionals to recommend consumption and manufacturers interest to incorporate pulses into their products. Additional research showing specific health benefits of pulses could also be used towards achieving health claims and dietary recommendations by health organizations.
Canada is the worlds largest exporter of lentil and peas and a leading exporter of bean and chickpea. However, the majority of Canadian grown pulses are sold as bulk commodities to international markets while domestic consumption and utilization of these crops remains low. Pulse Canada and provincial grower organizations have recognized the need to increase the processing and utilization of pulse crops within North America to ensure the future sustainability and profitability of the pulse industry.