From the US to the UK, throughout Asia and the Middle East, BC agrifoods have been circling the globe in pursuit of new markets, thanks to the BC Agrifoods Export Program. In less than three months since the program’s launch in November 2013, IAF has fully committed year one funds of over $600,000 into projects to help BC’s agriculture, food and seafood sectors showcase their products around the world.

Companies like vitamin manufacturer Herbaland Naturals, and Nutraex Food, a developer of natural sweeteners for mass produced foods, used Export funding to travel to Southern California and attend Natural Products Expo West, one of the world’s largest natural health product and supplement tradeshows.

Meyer Family Vineyards also headed south for the World of Pinot Noir Symposium in Santa Barbara, where they presented their Okanagan-produced wines to California consumers. The Meyers were also able to travel to London to promote their award-winning pinot noir and chardonnay at trade and media tastings. For president John Meyer, the project was a pivotal step in facilitating international market access. “We previously secured a distributor and importer in California, but attending this event allowed us to launch into the California market,” explains Meyer. “We saw some direct sales from the show itself, plus we were able to develop some promising leads that will likely increase export sales within upcoming months.”

BC Gourmet Foods pursued target export markets in Dubai and the Middle East for their new premium seafood and wild mushroom product. As a result of project funding, the company is currently in the process of formalizing a food service partner agreement in the UAE.

Consolidated Fruit Packers (CFP) presented a bounty of BC blueberries and tree fruits to potential buyers in Germany and Japan, through a series of meetings and events. CFP president Brian Messent is particularly optimistic about the contacts they were able to establish in Japan and is confident about their export plans for this new base. For Messent, export funding is not only beneficial to his company, but also a key resource for enhancing the competitiveness of the entire industry. “We are getting serious about export opportunities that can potentially boost profits for many BC fruit growers,” says Messent. “Our premium quality crops are already enjoyed within the domestic marketplace, but its important to have funding support available to help us expand our customer base and put BC products on the map.”

After a highly successful pilot year, the BC Agrifoods Export Program has been renewed for 2014-15. Up to $50,000 in matching funds is available for projects that enable industry engagement in international market development activities, including participation in international tradeshows, promotional events and incoming/outgoing missions, and creating marketing materials to support international market development. Participants must contribute 50% in cash of the total project cost.

Funding: $33,331 through the BC Agrifoods Export Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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