US Food Seminar to Explore Diversifying the Southern African Food Basket

On Thursday, 18 April 2013, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a consortium of U.S. food and ingredient producers will host a food seminar in Sandton.


The half-day seminar, called “Diversifying the Southern Africa Food Basket,” will address attendees on the opportunities to address nutrition needs in Southern Africa and developing value chains in the regional market with US food and ingredient suppliers. Invitees include local importers, wholesalers, traders, retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, NGOs, institutional feeding organisations, food industry professionals and government representatives.


The seminar will introduce this audience to members of the USDA’s Global Based Initiative, which includes some of the US’s leading food trade associations: American Peanut Council; US Dry Bean Council; USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council; US Potato Board; and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WiSHH).


Anita Florido, Regional Representative, Africa of WiSHH, explains: “The seminar will offer an informative and constructive look at the state of the region’s nutritional affairs and the benefits of commercial and non-commercial trade with the US food industry.  For-profit food companies and non-governmental organisations can meet key players from abroad and develop agreements in their mutual interest.”


In procuring food products for both commercial and non-commercial distribution, manufacturing and consumption, the key concerns buyers are faced with include product quality; cost-effectiveness; reliable, uninterrupted supply (from a politically-stable nation); and the long-term sustainability of both product and the relationship. The American organizations participating in the seminar will use this opportunity to discover local attendees’ needs, develop ways to add value to the bottom line for commercial participants and to aid food organisations in addressing the region’s still-prevalent issues of hunger, malnutrition and stunting.


The seminar, which starts with registration and an exploration of the literature and resources featured in the Marketplace exhibition, will be opened at 08:30 by Mr. Ross Kreamer, Minister Counsellor for Agricultural Affairs, USDA, Southern Africa, followed by remarks from Mr. Jim Hershey, Executive Director, WiSHH. Presentations will follow by local experts as well as those representing the US co-operators.


Local speakers include Prof. Hettie Schonfeldt of the University of Pretoria who will speak on “Opportunities to address nutrition needs in Southern Africa” and Dr John Purchase of Agribiz SA who will address “Developing Value Chains in Southern Africa.”


The event’s US co-operators will, in turn, offer insights into the nutritional and economic benefits of food products including peanuts; soy; potatoes; dry beans; dry peas; lentils and chickpeas. Their topics include: Peanuts, Natural Health Food for All; Dry Beans for Food Assistance, Development and Commerce; US Dry Peas, Delicious Food, Nutritious Food Ingredient; Adding Value to Products with Dehydrated Potatoes; and The Power of Soy: A Healthy, Cost Effective and Functional Protein Source.


Seminar attendees will enjoy a mid-morning “Taste of USA” break, with healthy snacks made from US food and ingredients and the opportunity to again explore the Marketplace.


The seminar is open to all local members of the food industry, but space is limited. Interested parties should contact Lindi Coetzer on +27 11 486 0585 or via email at

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