Checking in on the Beef Checkoff - OK Beef Council Supports USMEF Efforts to Grow US Beef Demand in AfricaWed, 26 Jun 2019 13:30:05 CDT
In this week’s edition of Checking In on the Beef Checkoff - Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays is joined by Heather Buckmaster, executive director of the Oklahoma Beef Council. During their visit, Buckmaster talked about her recent trip to the African country of Angola to promote US beef and foster a relationship with their consumers. Listen to Buckmaster and Hays full conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Buckmaster’s trip to Africa was part of an ongoing effort by the US Meat Export Federation to build consumer demand there for US beef. According to Buckmaster, South Africa, Uganda and Angola are currently the leading destinations for US Beef variety meats in Africa. Additionally, she says there are opportunities to export high quality US beef for the hotel and restaurant trade. As incomes grow in Africa, Buckmaster believes there will be opportunities to also move high quality alternative beef cuts that fit particular cooking methods and cultural tastes. To that point, the population of Sub-Sahara Africa is more than 1 billion giving the region exponential potential for future growth.
Efforts to build relationships in this area began in 2015 with the US Meat Export Federation’s first forays into West Africa. The Oklahoma Beef Council has previously supported an educational seminar in Ghana, a country that is a business leader in West Africa. According to Buckmaster, there is apparently a major lack of awareness of US beef’s quality attributes. To address this issue, she was given the role of walking African retailers through the US beef production lifecycle, US beef safety, and US beef grading system.
“It’s either arrogance or ignorance on my part or a combination but I just assumed everyone knew what made us special especially within the world’s culinary community,” she remarked. “This tells me there is incredible opportunity with education.”
Buckmaster contends that Africa is very much a “long-game.” Though it is important to note that the only significant costs associated with this effort is merely that related simply to travel as business in Africa moves at the speed of relationships. Buckmaster says trust is king in Africa and relationships must be maintained in person, not just digitally.
Learn more about Buckmaster’s trip to Africa or for more stories about what your Beef Checkoff is doing, visit www.oklabeef.org.
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