Ontario trade mission aimed to connect Ontario producers, processors with buyers

The trade mission visited Japan and South Korea

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Ontario’s Agriculture Minister, Ernie Hardeman, along with representatives from Beef Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Pork and Grain Farmers of Ontario have completed their trade mission in Japan and South Korea.

The objective of the mission, which took place Oct. 12 to 24 was to promote Ontario’s products to overseas markets, specifically pork, beef and soybeans.

Why It matters: Recent international trade disputes which have had an impact on Ontario’s agri-food sector has Ontario agriculture industry organizations looking for new markets and the opportunity to expand in current markets.

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“[Ontario’s agriculture industry representatives] have been meeting with companies here in Japan and South Korea, and we’ve seen great interest in our Ontario products,” says Hardeman.

Hardeman and associates met with importers, buyers, government representatives and grocery chains overseas to promote Ontario’s high quality products.

“It’s working well and obviously the Pacific trade deal is a great advantage to us to increase our market share here, particularly in Japan. They are all interested in getting the best product for the best price and that is what we are here selling,” he said in a teleconference with media.

“We are here to talk with them about purchasing more high quality food that we have to offer and most of the discussion has been about that. What we can do to increase the market here in Japan and South Korea,” says Hardeman.

During the mission an agreement between Kinsho Japan and Ontario Corn Fed Beef was signed, signifying the opportunity for beef trade in open markets.

“One clear sign that we have gotten from buyers in both Japan and South Korea is that the Ontario beef brand story really resonates with consumers here and so I think that’s a positive example of success to date with the trade mission,” says Richard Horne, Executive Director with Beef Farmers of Ontario.

“We’re very excited to meet some of our existing customers but also a lot of potential for new customers over seas. We don’t get the opportunity to network over seas, so we are excited to get support for this initiative and hopefully solicit some new business for us,” says George Wilson with Sofina Foods Inc.

About the author

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Jennifer lives on a farm in Cayuga, Ontario and has a lot of experience in the many aspects of agriculture.

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