Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced fiscal year 2004 allocations totaling $161,267,500 million to 71 U.S. trade organizations to promote U.S. agricultural products overseas under the Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD) Cooperator program and Quality Samples Program (QSP).

“These market development efforts are effective in building markets for U.S. products overseas,” said Veneman. “Increased trade opportunities for American agriculture benefit not only the food and agriculture sectors, but the economy as a whole. U.S. agricultural exports for 2004 are forecast to be a record $61.5 billion.”

MAP uses funds from USDA's Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) to enter into agreements with U.S. agricultural trade organizations, state regional groups and cooperatives. The CCC funds are used to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities for both brand and generic promotions targeting marketing constraints and opportunities. Activities conducted with MAP funding include consumer promotions for retail products, seminars and workshops to educate overseas customers about agricultural biotechnology and food safety, training and assistance to foreign processors and manufacturers on the utilization of U.S. product ingredients and market research.

Under the FMD Cooperator program, USDA establishes a trade promotion partnership with nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations. Funding priority is given to organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope. Program activities focus on reducing market impediments, improving the processing capabilities of importers, modifying restrictive regulatory codes and standards in foreign markets and identifying new markets or uses for U.S. products. The 50-year-old program has supported market development activities in more than 100 countries worldwide.

QSP funds help create export sales by promoting awareness of U.S. agricultural products among new foreign buyers. The program provides samples of agricultural commodities to foreign importers so that U.S. agribusinesses can develop new business partnerships overseas.

For more information on these market development programs, call the FAS Marketing Operations Staff at (202) 720-4327 or visit the FAS Web site at http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/default.htm.