USA Rice Stays ‘On Strategy’ with USDA Foreign Ag Service

The beginning of a beautiful friendship: USA Rice's Eszter Somogyi and USDA's Mark Slupek
May 25, 2023
CASABLANCA, MOROCCO – This week, USA Rice staff participated in the Africa/Middle East Policy and Marketing Strategy Summit organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to explore marketing opportunities and facilitate trade partnerships.

In total, personnel from 11 Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) posts from across the region were present, as well as representatives from FAS divisions based in Washington, DC, including Mark Slupek, FAS deputy administrator of global programs.

“The African continent is a rapidly growing consumer market with strong population growth and the potential for increased U.S. food exports,” said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director Europe, Middle East and Africa.  “Discussions here ranged from current policy priorities and opportunities for growth to food aid, infrastructure, trade relationships, and FAS funding sources, as well as climate smart agriculture.”

USA Rice shared information on U.S. trade servicing and promotional efforts in the region, and discussed future plans and opportunities with staff from FAS posts in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Israel, and the West Bank, as well as Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, and the Global Programs Division.

“We learned a lot here in Morocco, and return home with great input and fresh ideas,” said Somogyi.  “It was very efficient to interact with so many posts in a short time to and to understand USDA priorities in the region.  We work closely together with posts, and their involvement and support is crucial to ensuring the success of many of our efforts.”