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USDA Awards FMI Two Grants for Emerging Markets Programs

WASHINGTON - Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has been awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for global trade-building projects.

Totaling nearly $183,000, the funds are part of USDA's 2004 Emerging Markets Program to be used for food retail education and training programs. "FMI is honored to have USDA's endorsement of our efforts to expand food retail instruction to emerging markets around the world," stated Libby Martin, FMI director, international membership. "The comprehensive training afforded by this program is integral to fostering growth in U.S. agricultural exports to developing countries."

First authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill, the Emerging Markets Program supports the promotion and distribution of U.S. agricultural products, trade missions, and research on new markets, and it encourages free trade policies. It also sponsors seminars and training so potential buyers in emerging economies can profitably use U.S. agricultural goods.

According to USDA, the 2004 Emerging Markets Program will provide more than $10 million in funding for 86 trade-building projects worldwide.

In related news, FMI is expanding the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification program in Mexico for food producers and manufactures.

The SQF program is a fully integrated food safety and quality management protocol designed specifically for the food industry. It includes a safety standard, training, and independent auditing and certification that enable a supplier to verify food has been produced, processed, prepared, and handled in accordance with global standards.

FMI has selected Luis Alberto Cruz, director general of AVQ Consultoría Integral, S.C., to serve as the SQF Regional Representative in Mexico. Based in SQF's Mexico City office, Cruz will coordinate SQF activities throughout Mexico and Central America.
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