FAS Programs Help Promote Native American Foods Worldwide

  |   Feature

The Foreign Agricultural Service recognizes the U.S. agricultural exports grown, produced and harvested by American Indians across the country during Native American Heritage Month

For more than 25 years, the Intertribal Agriculture Council has promoted the conservation, development and use of agricultural resources to benefit American Indians. With the help of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s market development programs, IAC has introduced American Indian foods, grown and harvested in traditional ways established hundreds of years ago, to countries around the world. 

The council is a Market Access Program participant, and uses the program to recruit new members, help business attend export readiness seminars and international trade shows, lead buyer’s trade missions and conduct promotional activities in worldwide markets. IAC also partners with FAS to conduct the American Indian Foods program, which also helps Indian-owned businesses showcase their agricultural products and culture to foreign markets.

IAC includes nearly 70 federally recognized U.S. Indian tribes across the United States and works with tribal businesses to export their agricultural products. IAC uses MAP funds to recruit and train new companies and producers; in the past three years participation by Indian-owned companies in IAC export programs increased by more than 100 percent. This resulted in an increase of estimated export sales of $5 million to $12 million.  This year, IAC helped 15 Indian-owned companies attend six international trade shows plus two trade shows in the U.S. with an international component where they successfully promoted their products and developed key relationships with importers.

One example of an Indian-owned company that benefits from FAS and IAC assistance is an Alaskan seafood company called the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA). In the past year, APICDA participated in American Indian Foods program events to attend trade shows in Belgium, China, France and Japan. The company showcased its fresh wild salmon and black cod for display in Native Food Pavilion at the trade shows. These shows helped APICDA develop relationships with various buyers and increase annual export sales of fresh fish to Europe and Asia. Additionally, the increased sales recently allowed the company to acquire a new fish company in Alaska, creating new jobs for the local community.   

FAS market development programs help U.S. agricultural organizations such as IAC, representing thousands of producers and businesses, open and expand international markets for U.S. agricultural exports.