USDA accepting applications for Export Assistance Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is accepting applications for 2009 funding for five export market development programs administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS): the Emerging Markets Program (EMP), the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program (FMD), the Market Access Program (MAP), the Quality Samples Program (QSP), and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program. All the programs are designed to help expand commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural commodities.
Applications for EMP, FMD, MAP and QSP funding are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, Aug. 15, 2008. TASC applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and may be submitted at any time from the date of this announcement through fiscal year 2009.
The EMP will provide $10 million in 2009 funding to assist U.S. public and private organizations in improving market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products in low- to middle-income countries with market potential. The program can be used for technical assistance, such as activities that focus on trade capacity building or addressing technical barriers to trade. The EMP has a cost-sharing requirement.
The FMD program, also known as the Cooperator Program, will provide $34.5 million in 2009 funding to assist nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations in developing and maintaining foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products through a cost-share program. FMD funds are allocated to U.S. trade organizations with the broadest possible producer representation. Priority is given to organizations that are nationwide in membership and scope. Activities must contribute to the maintenance or growth of demand for agricultural commodities and generally address long-term foreign import constraints and export growth opportunities.
By providing cost-share assistance to U.S. trade organizations and small-sized entities, the MAP will provide $200 million in 2009 funding to help create, expand and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products. MAP participants must contribute a minimum of 10 percent of the cost of generic marketing and promotion activities and 50 percent for branded promotions. MAP regulations are expected to be amended this fall to improve the program's effectiveness and efficiency.
The QSP will provide $2.5 million in 2009 funding to help U.S. organizations supply samples of U.S. commodities to potential foreign buyers and provide technical assistance regarding product quality and proper use as a means to encourage new purchases. The program supports projects that benefit whole industries rather than individual companies. When a project is finished, USDA reimburses the costs for procuring and exporting the samples.
The TASC program will provide $7 million in 2009 funding to open, retain and expand markets for U.S. specialty crops. Resources are provided to address barriers, including phytosanitary or related technical restrictions that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. TASC regulations regarding award levels and project duration are expected to be amended this fall to be consistent with the increased funding provided for TASC by the recently enacted Farm Bill. Specialty crops include all cultivated plants and their products produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar and tobacco.
Applicants can submit a single application for all export assistance programs using the on-line Unified Export Strategy (UES).
United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service