In Cameroon’s commercial capital Douala, more than 20 agribusiness exporters and small and medium enterprise owners attended a Dec. 20 workshop to learn about U.S. plant health and phytosanitary requirements, pesticide residue regulations, traceability, labelling and workers’ treatment—all keys to entering the American market.
AntaMiel Honey Company owner Mr. Jacques Georges Badjang—who produces 500 tons of honey a year and exports 95% of it to the EU—said, “I am currently eyeing the U.S. market, and that is why I have come to learn about how to go about it.”
KEUNIFOODS’ Ms. Aicha Noucti, who exports Cameroonian mix spices, said “I am working on labelling requirements for the American market.”
The workshop was the latest in the Trade Hub’s outreach series for West African companies seeking to export under the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which waives import duties for thousands of African products. Co-hosted with the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Craft (CCIMC), the one-day session covered U.S. Government requirements for fresh and processed food exports requirements, led by the Trade Hub’s Senior AGOA Specialist Mr. Mohamed Abou iiana.
In Ghana, the AGOA information outreach series led two participants to export to the U.S. for the first time: Ghana-based Pinora Ltd, which shipped orange juice concentrate in November, and Bedrock-Nar Fabrics, which exported ladies dresses, blouses and jackets as well as unsewn batik tye-and-dye materials.
Diversifying exports is essential to a robust AGOA strategy. In 2016, Cameroon’s $10.5 million in AGOA exports were mostly energy-related products.
While in Douala, Abou iiana also visited Buetec Broderie Sarl, an apparel firm that produces polo and T-shirts for the local market and employs 180 people. Manager Ms. Bettina Guemto-Michaelis told Abou iiana that the company is interested in exporting under AGOA and requested assistance in putting together a business plan to access finance as well market linkages in the U.S.