The Florida Department of Agriculture has further expanded its marketing efforts in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America by adding a large Colombian chain to its global retail program. Retailer Carrefour-Colombia joins 37 other chains worldwide that will partner with the department and feature a variety of fruits, vegetables and citrus juices.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is in the seventh year of helping Florida growers market their products globally through its retail program known as “Global Grid.” Florida’s Natural Growers, a major producer of juices headquartered in Lake Wales and key partner in the retail program, is also participating in the Colombian initiative with Carrefour.
FDACS marketing representatives have been actively reaching out to retailers and produce importers in Colombia over the past year to discuss trade opportunities for Florida agricultural products. Following up on those earlier contacts, representatives of various Colombian firms were invited to visit the Department’s “Fresh from Florida” pavilion at the Produce Marketing Association “Fresh Summit” in Orlando in October to meet with 11 participating Florida growers and discuss marketing possibilities. The venue provided opportunities to discuss potential Colombian consumer demand for several Florida products including citrus, colored bell peppers, cucumbers, sweet corn, and tomatoes.
The Global Grid campaign has expanded to include 15 countries around the globe. The campaign now has 38 retail partners worldwide with more than 10,000 store outlets.
In recent years, FDACS has sponsored demonstrations and provided samples of Florida products to shoppers in retail stores in the Caribbean and Central America, helping lift sales of Florida bell peppers, strawberries, lettuces, tangerines and Florida’s Natural citrus juices. Exports of Florida produce to the Caribbean and Central America totaled over $66 million in 2009.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said his department increased its marketing contacts with Colombia as the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, sometimes called the Colombia Free Trade Agreement or FTA, winds its way toward ratification.
“Just as the CAFTA-DR trade pact opened markets in Central America and the Dominican Republic to Florida agricultural products, we anticipate similar opportunities stemming from the Colombia FTA,” Bronson said. “Our marketing reps have been conducting market research and retail meetings in advance of ratification to lay the groundwork for our state’s growers to capitalize on new export opportunities as they arise.”
Signed on November 22, 2006, the Colombia FTA is a comprehensive free trade agreement which, when it goes into effect, would eliminate most of its tariffs on U.S. exports with others being phased out over defined time periods. Colombia’s Congress approved the agreement in 2007, and Colombia’s Constitutional Court completed its review in 2008. The U.S. Trade Representative currently is addressing outstanding issues.
This Global Grid marketing initiative is part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ongoing “Fresh from Florida” campaign, an identification and promotional program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers to easily identify Florida products at retail stores. The “Fresh from Florida” program also helps increase public awareness of the importance of Florida’s agriculture industry, which generates $7 billion in farm receipts yearly and has an annual overall economic impact estimated at more than $100 billion.
Source: FDACS news release