Wisconsin explores Kenya trade opportunities
State agriculture leaders are working to build trade relationships in Africa.
Wisconsin’s Ag Secretary Randy Romanski tells Brownfield he recently participated in a trade mission to Kenya with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. “Some of their needs match up with some of our strengths. They’re looking to move the genetics of their livestock forward. Well, the U.S. and Wisconsin in particular has a very strong genetics portfolio, businesses that are involved, so that’s an opportunity.”
Romanski says the NASDA trips go to countries with emerging market opportunities and where U.S. agribusinesses can help improve the local agriculture efforts. “There’s a lot of small-scale dairy, but they also have crops, they also have specialty crops, and so it’s a really unique opportunity for them to connect to professionals here that can partner with them and help move their industry forward.”
He tells Brownfield Kenyan officials want to grow their small-scale dairy industry to help feed its people. “When I talk about small, a lot of the producers are small, we’re talking like zero to five animals small, and some of the conversations we had with them were how do you embrace technology and herd sizes or any size, and what are the opportunities to train their workforce.”
Romanski says Kenyan officials were also interested in learning about combining quality feed, additives, and animal health components along with improved genetics.
Romanski says this trip was the first step in building relationships and trying to identify how U.S. products and practices can help Kenya improve its food systems. The Secretary is expecting a follow-up visit with Kenyan officials as early as next year, and he says there might also be future collaborations including education and internships in the U.S. for Kenyan students.
Audio: Wisconsin Ag Secretary Randy Romanski discusses the recent trade mission to Kenya with Brownfield’s Larry Lee