California Agricultural Export Council (CAEC):
The California Agricultural Export Council (CAEC) is a non-profit organization that works with California and western United States-based agricultural associations to market and promote California, Arizona and New Mexico food products. Coordinating activities closely with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), CAEC manages promotional and research projects in selected markets worldwide. Activities focus on the promotion of either individual products or generic California activities that leverage the image of California and U.S. agricultural products. Formed in 1995 to support the international marketing efforts of various California-based agricultural producer organizations, CAEC is involved in several umbrella activities, including trade-show pavilions, California Week foodservice and retail promotions and sponsorship of international delegations to California. Fred Klose, CAEC executive director, explains that the organization was formed because “Many smaller commodity groups didn’t have all of the resources to access government services, so many of them joined together to form one body that would handle an assortment of services.” CAEC has grown to include the California Fig Advisory Board (CFAB), California Fresh Apricot Council (CFAC), California Medjool Date Council, California New Potatoes (CNP), California Olive Oil Council (COOC), Pomegranate Council and Western Growers (WG). CAEC has several main target markets the principal ones being Canada, Japan and China. “Our sole purpose is to assist our members in gaining access to overseas markets and promote their products in international markets,” Klose adds. “We export an array of California-grown commodities, including figs, medjool dates, apricots, pomegranates, olive oil and potatoes, as well as fresh vegetables from California and Arizona and pecans from Arizona and New Mexico.” CAEC is involved with a wide range of programs — each with a different angle. “We’re always interested in developing new markets for our products,” says Klose. CAEC is currently seeking input from importers and other trade individuals that handle these products on ways to expand current programs to better suit the needs of the market or for suggestions of new markets for these products.