Supply Chain Development Critical to Expanding Sales Channels in AfricaPublished: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022
With long-term growth forecast for GDP, population, personal income and tourism in numerous African countries, the continent presents compelling potential for the U.S. red meat industry. Interest in Africa was strong at Gulfood last month, where USMEF Africa Representative Matt Copeland was on hand to talk with regional buyers and U.S. suppliers about opportunities for U.S. beef products in Africa.
“Connecting the right buyer to the right supplier is a fundamental part of what we do and shows such as Gulfood provide an excellent forum for that,” explains Copeland. “But a critical piece of trade development is problem-solving related to the issues that impact U.S. red meat trade in regional markets. In Africa, regulatory challenges limit the range of products the U.S. can export to the region while underdeveloped supply chains limit our ability to get products to consumers.”
Despite the limitations, Copeland highlights numerous opportunities in the region and with funding support from USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion Program and Market Access Program, the Beef Checkoff Program and National Pork Board, USMEF is working to develop downstream demand with consumers, from processed pork to inexpensive variety meats and ungraded cuts at retail and HRI and eventually, to high-quality steak cuts.
“With the exception of South Africa, there is still much room for capital investment in cold chain infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa. With international food retailers expanding in the region, we see movement toward excellence in food handling standards.”
To expand the number of well-established importers and distributors with existing cold chains who currently purchase U.S. beef, USMEF is building a digital library of U.S. beef importers and distributors to share with U.S. suppliers. Promotional videos of distributors are also being produced for their use with current and potential customers.
Promotional programs — which include advertising wraps for U.S. red meat on refrigerated delivery vehicles — are also driving awareness of U.S. products availability in the market among distributors, users in retail and HRI, and consumers.
“Reliable cold chains are critical to the delivery of high-quality U.S. red meat to consumers,” says Copeland. “Our promotional partnerships are intended to demonstrate the importance of cold chain investment to our industry and demonstrate its value to other distributors and end- users in the supply chain.”
USMEF plans to eventually extend this promotional campaign to other markets that are developing modern retail sectors such as Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom adds, “Supply chains are a critical component of trade development, especially in new and emerging markets. The more that we can influence and enhance supply chain development in these markets the better able we are to expand sales channels for U.S. red meat.”