WASHINGTON — As one of its 2021 initiatives, Pet Food Institute (PFI) announced Jan. 13 it is supporting the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) expanded Market Access Program (MAP) to advance US pet food exports. The organization will promote awareness of US pet food demand abroad and work to reduce trade barriers through this year’s program.

“Across the world, the attitudes toward pet ownership and the relationship with pets continue to evolve as families realize the many benefits that a dog or cat can bring to our lives,” said Nat Davies, director of business operations and programs at Pet Food Institute, who manages day-to-day MAP administration. “Through the USDA-support Market Access Program, PFI can help further awareness of responsible pet ownership, the value of complete and balanced pet nutrition, and work to address barriers that may prevent the entry of U.S. pet food into foreign markets. We are pleased and excited to begin work in 2021, including in our new markets.”

This year’s program will be active for 10 international markets spanning 17 countries, including Brazil, the Caribbean (the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago), Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama), China, Columbia, Mexico, the Middle East (Israel and the United Arab Emirates), the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.

PFI said Brazil and South Korea are new export markets for the 2021 Market Access Program, and that it will conduct market evaluations of the two countries. PFI has been supporting the USDA’s Market Access Program since 1993.

A photo from a 2017 veterinary event directed by Pet Food Institute in the Philippines. (Source: Pet Food Institute)

Additionally, the organization will organize marketing and promotional campaigns to enhance local veterinarians’ dog and cat nutrition training, as well as working with rescue groups in each market to promote companion animal welfare. PFI will also organize consumer outreach and educational campaigns on responsible pet ownership in each market.

PFI will direct these activities, but they will be conducted by representatives in each country included in the 2021 Market Access Program.

The organization also shared it is working with the USDA on a similar program, the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, focused on working with Guatemalan authorities to reduce the time taken for registering pet food imports.

According to a study of the US pet food ingredients market conducted by PFI, the North American Renderers Association and IFEEDER, the sale of pet food domestically and abroad stimulates the entire US agricultural economy. This focus on exports could open up new opportunities for US pet food manufacturers to expand their reach and impact.

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