IICA and its partners will launch a new virtual business round for agrifood businesses with a view to strengthening intra-regional trade

San José, 11 May 2021 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will be launching, together with other organizations, the third virtual business round for companies in Latin America and the Caribbean specializing in agrifood products.

The goal of the initiative is to promote commercial ties between companies within the agrifood chain, in an attempt to help them consolidate or diversify their export markets, so as to accelerate their economic recovery in the face of COVID-19.

The virtual round will take place from 24-28 May. Spearheaded by IICA, the initiative is also organized by FAO, the Secretariat for Central-American Economic Integration (SIECA) and the Executive Secretariat of the Central-American Agricultural Council (SECAC).

 “IICA, through these virtual platforms, seeks to promote networking and business development among buyers and sellers”, explained the manager of the International Trade and Regional Integration Program of the Institute, Daniel Rodríguez. 

The need to organize virtual business rounds emerged last year, when restrictions were imposed on international fairs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to participate in the event, interested companies must register at SIECA’s Central-American Trade Network, (www.redca.sieca.int), fill out their business profile and then request their participation in the virtual business round free of charge. Registration is already open.

The products and services being promoted within the activities are the following:

· Primary products and byproducts

· Transformed foods

· Production support services (agricultural innovation, machinery, equipment and inputs)

· Trade-related services (distribution, transportation and logistics, packing, etc.).

Strengthening intra-regional trade

The activity seeks to increase intra-regional trade and diversify the export basket.

A study conducted by IICA on the agrifood sector during the first year of the pandemic showed that of the total exports of 17 countries in the Americas, about 13% of its agri-food exports correspond to intra-regional trade and the remaining 87% to other markets.

Moreover, 10 products including soy, meat, plantains and coffee make up 51% of total exports compared with the world average of 29%.

Last year, IICA and other organizations hosted two hemispheric business rounds, which featured the participation of nearly 950 companies from 22 countries, and which generated new business worth about USD 16 million.

 “With these large business rounds, where 500 or 600 companies participate at the same time, we also seek to promote intra-regional trade and diversify the range of products offered”, stated Mr. Rodríguez.

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