January 17, 2006
The Northarvest Bean Growers Association is represented on the United States Dry Bean Council Board by delegates Mark Myrdal of Edinburg North Dakota, Mark Streed of Milan Minnesota, and alternate NHB President Kevin Anderson or Executive Director Tim Courneya.
The USDBC is a private trade association in the United States that represents growers and shippers of U.S. edible dry beans. The NDBC works closely with both the U.S. exporting and foreign importing trades to promote areas of mutual interest in the use, consumption and marketing of edible dry beans worldwide.
USDBC is a resource for information on U.S. exporters, overseas importers, U.S. dry bean classes, trade policy issues and the role of U.S.-grown beans in international food aid efforts. USDBC also publishes foreign language newsletters and other publications designed to help local importers, packagers and canners better understand and maintain contact with the U.S. dry bean exporting trade.
The United States Dry Bean Council has its headquarters in the State of Washington with a liaison office in Washington, DC. In addition, the USDBC has overseas representatives around the world who facilitate activities and dialog between the U.S. and overseas trade.
Working through the USDBC, Northarvest had contact with countries around the globe maintaining existing markets, meeting with food aid ministers, exploring opportunities to develop new markets, monitoring trade policy and market trends, and discussing dry bean demand with importers, wholesalers, packagers, and retailers.
Over 60 food aid, trade mission, and trade show visits were made to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
In South Africa at The Africa’s Big Seven annual trade show, NDBC’s objective in exhibiting was to talk with as many legume-related professionals as possible to find out what beans are being produced, imported and sold in the South African market, and what opportunities there might be to develop demand for U.S. dry beans.
In the Philippines, representatives met with several food processors and wholesalers. At one small canning company, “We discussed USDBC’s interest in reviving the market for canned beans in the Philippines through promotions featuring U.S. beans and using the USDBC quality seal.” The canner was interested to cooperate with USDBC in this effort when more details are known. USDBC requested that they provide us with more information about their local importers so they could contact the suppliers and work with them in helping to maintain supplies of U.S. beans year round.
In Guatemala during the January - June 2005 funding year, the USA Rice and Beans training team contacted 500 rural schools (about 200,000 students). In February alone, the USA Rice and Beans training team visited 42 schools. 16,355 students were served rice and beans - 2,113 mothers trained (mothers who volunteer to cook school meals) - 463 teachers trained - 390 pounds of beans served.
A representative met in Amman, Jordon with the Iraqi Deputy Minister of Trade and the Director General and Chairman of the Foodstuffs Board of Trade. After a discussion of problems facing U.S. suppliers and possible solutions, it was reported, “US Great Northern beans have an excellent reputation in Iraq, which puts US suppliers at an advantage. This coupled with the fact that the Foodstuffs Board of Trade now understands better the various problems of US suppliers (timing, logistics, communication) means that we may be looking at a much improved situation.” Problems facing the Iraqis were also reported, “US suppliers should be aware that staff at the Iraqi Ministry of Trade are working under very difficult conditions. Office buildings are frequently evacuated due to bomb threats. Road blocks and police security checks impede access. Electricity cuts and absent personnel creates work disruptions. Telephone communication is erratic. Families live under the constant threat of violence, and these stressful conditions are taking a toll.”
In the United Kingdom, a preliminary visit paved the way for a successful trade mission. One of the USDBC mission goals to initiate US dry bean menu promotions that will impact on the market, in order to stimulate the supply chain and encourage the use of a wider range of dry bean classes. In turn, creating greater consumer awareness of the different varieties of dry beans that exist.
The Northarvest delegates to the USDBC represent Minnesota and North Dakota growers in these market development efforts. The Northarvest dry bean growers remain uniquely positioned to help producers and shippers supply the world with dry beans.
NCI, an international meeting and learning center, hosts trade teams, marketing and research groups, and visitors from around the world. In 2005, NCI's technical team conducted pilot-scale processing and product development work for seven companies that totaled more than 40 processing days and 16 analystical testing projects, including investigations using dry edible beans. Mehmet Tulbek, NCI's new crop quality specialist, will address technical aspects and promotion of dry beans, soybeans, lentils, dry peas, and other non-cereal crops. He begins his duties in January 2006.