Nebraska Dry Bean Commission sets sights on trade expansion in Turkey
Cindi Allen of Ogallala, Neb., District IV Nebraska Dry Bean commissioner, did not hesitate to start packing when the call came to represent the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission. Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse led a U.S. trade delegation to Istanbul, Turkey, during the early part of June. The delegates represented more than 20 companies, six state departments of agriculture, and numerous agricultural organizations seeking to tap into Turkey’s expanding market.
“People around the world continue to demand U.S. food and agricultural products, boosting American businesses and supporting our rural communities,” Scuse said.
“Turkey has moved from a major producer to a major importer of beans. This gives both Nebraska dry bean growers and processors an incredible window of opportunity.” Allen said. “Trade agreements are becoming enormous in their scope and reach. Turkey spans between Europe and Asia. As a result, Turkey is a very strategic center of commerce for U.S. agricultural trade and Nebraska dry beans.”
A dynamic mix of government officials, private companies, and traders, all with agricultural interest, set the stage as an opportunistic event for NDBC participation. The Agricultural Trade Mission to Turkey was brought to the attention of the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission through Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture, trade representative Stan Garbacz, representing Nebraska in the ATM-Turkey. The trade teams arrived in Istanbul eager to get started despite reports of government protest in Taksim Square, Istanbul.
“When we arrived in Istanbul we found a peaceful city with a small area occupied by protesters,” Allen said. “We were never unsafe, contrary to what was shown on CNN.”
In addition to Turkish buyers and traders, agricultural officials from the American Embassy in Ankara, which covers Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia, and the Consulate General of the United States in Turkey, were present for briefings, questions, and panel discussions.
Notably, Turkey is self-sufficient in terms of food. However, 72 percent of the population in Turkey is younger than 35. Both rising incomes and migration from rural to urban areas have caused an increase in demand for exotic foods. Although traditional eating habits still prevail in the majority, there is a robust opportunity in package food, consumption of convenience foods, exotic foods, and bread. Remarkably, Turkey is increasing in economic statue with trade links to other markets in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Because of this, Turkey has liberalized its policy on food imports.
The Nebraska Dry Bean Commission looks for opportunities to increase the consumption of beans, educate the consumer about the health benefits of beans, and continue to fund research that aligns with the goals of the Commission. NDBC has participated in similar trade missions to China resulting in reverse trade missions and partnerships within the Chinese markets.
Formed in 1987, by the Nebraska Legislature under the Dry Bean Resources Act the Commission is comprised of nine members: four grower representatives, three processor representatives appointed by the governor, and two additional grower representatives appointed by the commission. Commissioners all serve a three-year term. The primary function of NDBC is for the purpose of research, education, advertising, publicity, and promotion to increase the consumption of dry beans on a state, national, and international basis. To learn more about the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, nutritional information, and bean recipes, visit the website at http://nebraskadrybean.com.