Representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Japan on an agribusiness trade mission led by the USDA last month. The purpose of the mission was to strengthen the relationship between Kansas agriculture and Japan and to explore potential new markets.
Kansas was represented by Mary Soukup, KDA assistant secretary, and Chad Bontrager, director of the KDA agribusiness development division.
Soukup said the trip provided a chance to meet with government officials and companies that rely on agricultural products in their businesses.
“It was exciting to see Kansas products being used and to explore opportunities to strengthen our relationship with Japan,” Soukup said.
The group visited food and agriculture processing operations, including Glicopia Chiba Factory, Kikkoman Noda, Yamazaki Kobe and Kirin Beer Kobe, to gain a better understanding of how U.S. agricultural products are used in Japan.
USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney said Japan is already a top market for U.S. farm and food products, but that many other untapped opportunities exist.
“Japan is an import-dependent economy and its 130 million consumers have a real affinity for U.S. food products because of their quality, affordability and safety,” McKinney said. “I’m eager to return to Japan and continue exploring all the ways we can grow U.S. agricultural exports there.”
In 2017, Kansas exported nearly $723 million in agricultural products to Japan, making it one of the top export markets for Kansas agriculture.