November 20, 2018 – U.S. pork officials are always looking to expand exports into new markets, so it was an easy decision when the National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) collaborated to arrange an international trip to Colombia for 14 delegates from the Pork Leadership Institute. All three organizations support pork producers and pork consumption and have had a hand in fostering U.S. exports in this rapidly growing pork market.
In the two short days, U.S. representatives met with numerous Colombian officials, including Colombia’s elected representatives and senators, foreign trade representatives, market economists and trade experts. The group toured the Colombian Congress, a large wet market, the country’s largest packing plant, a retail supermarket that sold U.S. pork ribs and loins and restaurants that also sold U.S. pork.
“The wet market was like a farmer’s market on steroids,” said Geri Wohltman, Farmweld Marketing Director. “Vendors sold anything from fruits to meat to lottery tickets and herbs.” Of particular interest were the meat vendors, who’s displays ranged from cutting up carcasses onsite to whole roasted hogs sold as a type of pulled pork that was consumed at the market for lunch.
“It was a testament to free-trade agreements that we were able to eat at a restaurant in Bogotà, Columbia and consume the healthy, safe product we know and love in the United States,” said Geri Wohltman.
Meat consumption, of all types, is rising in Colombia as the country’s middle class continues to grow. Fortunately for U.S. pork producers, pork is a preferred meat and is leading the charge.
“The Colombian market not only imports ribs, loins and hams from the United States, but also variety meats,” said Geri Wohltman. “With U.S. exports to China declining in 2018, U.S. pork producers need markets for variety meats as well as higher-value cuts.”