ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Program joined the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture this week to update NASDA members on the linkages between trade, development, and global food security. WISHH Executive Director Gena Perry participated in a panel discussion alongside the National Corn Growers Association’s Angus Kelly and Pinion’s Brian Kuehl at NASDA’s annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. WISHH’s membership with NASDA and participation in its conference are supported with funding from the United Soybean Board.
In her remarks, Perry spoke to the importance of trade teams, reminding attendees of the need for both in-bound trade teams as well as overseas exchanges. This timely discussion comes as WISHH just completed a busy summer of trade teams that welcomed business leaders and strategic partners to the United States from Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia- all three areas of the globe in which WISHH works. The organization also completed a successful trip to Cambodia, bringing along farmer-leaders from ASA and USB to see its progress in the country with aquaculture development. In addition, WISHH is gearing up for a trade mission to East Africa this October.
WISHH also welcomed the opportunity to speak to the resiliency of its trade programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fielding questions about flexibility needs due to the pandemic, Perry explained the success of WISHH’s virtual programming, how WISHH has relied on its strong network of on-the-ground technical advisers, and, importantly, that each international business that WISHH worked with before the pandemic is still operational today.
Lastly, Perry spoke of the intersection of sustainability, climate resilience and global food security. She explained how association-building is a key pillar of WISHH’s work, listing the Cambodian Aquaculturist Association and the Ghana National Egg Campaign Secretariat as organizations that could lead to sustainable trade avenues for U.S. soy.
NASDA has a close relationship with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and works to grow U.S. agricultural exports, often assisting with trade teams and international educational events. As such, its leadership stressed the value of leaning on expertise from the WISHH program. WISHH will continue to work with NASDA’s international marketing team to provide insights into U.S. soy’s role in trade, global food security, and current and future market trends.