Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam met with the American Chamber of Commerce in Panama (PANAMCHAM) during the second full day of a trade development mission to Panama.
Putnam joined growers and Miami Port Director Bill Johnson to promote Florida citrus and berries to Panamanian business groups and retailers.
“The economic success of Latin America presents many opportunities for Florida’s $100 billion agriculture industry,” Putnam said. “Florida exported more than $168 million in agricultural products to Panama in 2012, making Panama Florida’s fifth largest trading partner for agricultural products. We’re here to build on the recent success by promoting Florida citrus, berries and other products.”
PANAMCHAM president David Carius and executive director Maurice Belanger acted as hosts to the Florida delegation, which included Putnam, Johnson, Florida’s Natural Growers COO Dr. Robert Behr and International Sales Manager Joel Sellers and Wish Farms owner Gary Wishnatzki.
Richard Gaskalla, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Director of Plant Industry, also attended the meetings.
The delegation also met with senior Panamanian officials, including Vice Minister of Trade Jose Pacheco, and Minister of Agriculture Oscar Osorio.
In the last two years, Florida’s exports to Panama have grown 70 percent, to more than $168 million in agricultural products in 2012.
Panamanian exports over the last two years created 1,800 new Florida jobs, part of the state’s $100 billion industry that supports two million jobs in Florida. Agricultural exports in the state to more than 160 other countries have recently surpassed $4 billion per year.
For more information about FDACS, visit www.freshfromflorida.com.