Is global the new local?

Income and population growth in other countries provides opportunity for Michigan’s Ag business development. Michigan State University is partnering with government and industry to capitalize on the world’s taste for U.S. food and agricultural products.

Michigan State University Professors G. Tomas M. Hult and David Schweikhardt conclude that there is a place for Michigan food and agricultural products in the growing international market. Canada, Mexico and Japan lead the list of all countries importing $1.75 billion in cereals, flour, dry beans and other products which represents a 10% annual increase over 2009.

At the recent seminar Why to Export, held by the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Dr. Hult advised audience members to find a market segment that is the same internationally or modify product offered. “Cultural knowledge, product uniqueness, assembling a global team and understanding your global industry are important to establishing a successful international market. The Michigan State University Broad School of Business website offers many resources for the prospective or established international trader,” according to Dr. Hult. Market, industry and demographic data may be accessed, along with a variety of tools, such as export readiness self-assessment, course content and resource websites.

Dr. Schweikhardt illustrated how populations in developing counties increase food consumption with increasing incomes at a much higher rate than those of higher-income nations. “The greatest growth markets for agriculture-food exports are Asia and Southeast Asia. Except, Schweikhardt asked rhetorically, is there a niche in Europe? Absolutely! Much trade in food products is driven by consumer preferences, not cost alone.”

For educational programs, business counseling, business planning, and technical assistance in developing your food, agriculture or natural resources product for market, contact the Michigan State University Product Center or 517-432-8750.

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