In order to foster the development of international trade, in 1985, the Legislature founded the Agricultural Export Program (AEP) as a subset of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The AEP’s mission statement embodies these principles by assisting Californian agricultural producers in foreign market development in order to increase the exports of Californian agricultural products. The AEP maintains close relationships with various public and private entities that provide specific assistance to Californian Exporters. The AEP works with other agencies within the CDFA to develop and coordinate services to individual companies and exporters and works to protect local agriculture in both the domestic and international market.
The most valuable resource and asset for any local agricultural organizations seeking to export is the CITD. The CITD can provide exporters with training in hands-on assistance relating to international trade. The centers are a tremendously valuable starting point for future exporters, for they offer insightful assistance with marketing plans as well as documentation for international trade.
CITDs specialize in providing a one stop service for marketing information, resources, training and education. Today, the CITD has undertaken the role of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s new agricultural export office.
There are three advantages to having the CITD act as the AEP’s new export office. First, their experiences in international trade facilitate in-coming agricultural buying missions. In 2006, CITD hosted supermarket buyers from Singapore, dried fruits and nuts buyers from Thailand and Indonesia, and ingredients buyers from Taiwan and the Philippines. Second, the CITD facilitates international agricultural promotions such as trade shows, advertising, and trade/consumer promotions. Also in 2006, CITD contributed to the Food Market Institute (FMI) in Chicago, ALIMENTARIA in Mexico, and a seafood buying delegation in Thailand. Lastly, local CITD offices offer export training and consultations to California food and agricultural companies. CITD offers export readiness training for both beginning and established exporters semi annually.
The redistribution of the export offices from the AEP to the CITD will assist in an organized and smooth delegation of Californian agricultural trade. The allocation of the AEP export offices to the CITD offices will not only allow the AEP to focus more on domestic agricultural issues such as food and animal health safety, trade and fair shows, and marketing; but also allow CITD, a previously well established import and export organization, to understand its domestic market even more. The increased integration of the CITD with its domestic market will only increase its impact on the import and exports occurring between California and international markets.