WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Sept. 18 that Krysta Harden, deputy secretary of agriculture, will lead a trade mission to Accra, Ghana, Nov. 17-20, to expand export opportunities for U.S. agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Two years ago, I led a mission to southern Africa to launch USDA’s Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, which aims to expand U.S. agricultural and commercial ties in the region,” Harden said. “I am excited to return to Africa with a new group of U.S. agricultural leaders to further explore market opportunities, especially for small, minority and women-owned businesses.”

The delegation will meet with potential customers from more than a dozen countries across sub-Saharan Africa, forging relationships and learning about the market conditions and business environment in the region, the USDA said.  This first-hand intelligence will help them develop strategies to start or expand sales to these key markets.

Participants will include representatives from companies representing a wide array of U.S. food and agricultural products, as well as leaders from state departments of agriculture and U.S. agricultural organizations. 

With a strong economic outlook, a growing middle class, and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods, sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions for U.S. agricultural exports, the USDA said. Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to the region have grown by more than 50%, totaling $2.3 billion in 2014. Exports of consumer-oriented products have grown by nearly 90% in just five years, from $480 million in 2010 to a record $909 million in 2014.

For additional information about the mission, including application materials, click here.  Applications are due Oct. 2.