Did You Know?--February 25, 1994

A December 1993 "Did You Know?" piece highlighted USDA efforts in the New 
Independent States. This week's piece elaborates on that same theme, with 
an overview of USDA Emerging Democracies Program efforts in Central and 
Eastern Europe:

Poland: Marketing, Testing of Perishable Products--Agricultural Marketing 
Service (AMS)--Testing of shipments of perishables from US to Polish 
markets executed in order to demonstrate alternative shipping methods. 
Specific activities include the following: 1) USDA and private sector 
cooperation in the identification and shipment of products which employ a 
new protective and edible coating (a material patented by the Agricultural 
Research Service, USDA), 2) Shipment of these products by lowest cost 
surface transport and quantification of total handling costs, and 3) 
Preparation of publications on test results and the conduct of training 
programs to demonstrate innovative food marketing methods to US and Polish 
cooperators.

Poland: Business Plan Training--Extension Service (ES)--Assist Polish 
Advisory Service in development of agribusiness infrastructure to create 
viable trade opportunities for the US, especially in consumer-ready 
products and feed grains. Four business plan workshops are included in the 
project: market analysis, product marketing, finance, and farm business 
planning. Objectives for phase 2 of the program include: 1) establishment 
of a training center in international business, 2) establishment of a 
training center in market systems and institutions, 3) creation of an 
agribusiness association, 4) improvement of market analysis capabilities, 
and 5) establishment of a business summer school for agricultural advisors 
and agricultural technical school teachers. 

Poland: Cochran Program Fellowships--Foreign Agricultural 
Service/International Cooperation and Development branch (FAS/ICD, 
formerly the Office of International Cooperation and Development)-- With 
FY 1993 funds, provide US-based training for 15 candidates in grain 
marketing, grain storage, fruit and vegetable marketing, and meat 
processing.

Hungary: Trade, Investment Assessment--Experience, Inc.--Assess trade and 
agribusiness investment opportunities and market profiles of venture 
possibilities to US companies. The contractor, Experience, Inc., led a 
mission in May 1993 to Hungary of US firms interested in joint ventures.

Hungary: Trade, Investment Assessment Follow Up--FAS/ICD--Second mission 
to Hungary, carried out in late 1993 to follow on May mission. US 
agribusinesses which wanted to participate in the May mission but were 
unable to do so travel to Hungary to pursue joint venture opportunities 
identified by Experience, Inc. 

Czech Republic and Slovakia: Sector Assessment: Banking, Finance 
(Agriculture)--Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)--A predominantly private 
sector team of bankers reviewed the banking and finance sectors as they 
relate to agriculture, in response to a request of the Minister of Finance 
of the former Czechoslovakia. From 22 Sep. to 5 Oct. 1991, the team 
visited the Czech and Slovak republics, drew conclusions, and proposed 
recommendations for further work. Three of the recommendations were 
implemented in FY 1993: 1) 28 bank officers and managers travelled to the 
US in July-August 1992 to train in bank management and western banking 
transactions at North Dakota State University, 2) 22 loan officers trained 
in credit analysis and other transactions at Ohio State University in 
June-July, and 3) 32 farm managers trained in US farm practices in 
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington, DC during June-July. 

Czech Republic and Slovakia: Farm Managers Training--FAS/ICD-- Training in 
the US for selected managers of former state and cooperative farms, as 
well as private farmers. In June-July 1992 and August-September 1993, 32 
farm managers trained in the Mid- West; the focus was on integrated farm 
management, agribusiness and agricultural banking.

Czech Republic and Slovakia: Bank Managers, Loan Officers 
Training--FAS/ICD--Train selected bank managers and loan officers in 
agricultural banking, finance and credit. From June 1992 - September 1993, 
76 participants trained at three principal sites: Ohio State University, 
North Dakota State University and Iowa State University.

Czech Republic: Wholesale Market Development--AMS (1993-94), FAS 
(1992-93)--Develop a wholesale market demonstration project for fresh and 
processed foods near Most, a city northwest of Prague. Two specific 
activities of this project include: 1) feasibility study on appropriate 
type of facility and costs involved and 2) training in the US in wholesale 
food marketing, advertising, protection of perishable goods with a view to 
the environment, and handling and transport.

Bulgaria: Sector Assessment: Fruits and Vegetables--FAS--An assessment 
team of largely private sector US experts visited Bulgaria from 15 
September - 5 October 1991 to study the fruits and vegetables processing 
industry, with a view to providing technical assistance and identifying 
potential trade and investment opportunities for US enterprises.

Bulgaria: Fruits and Vegetables: Grades and Standards, Market 
News--AMS--In November 1992 a USDA team visited Bulgaria to assist in the 
development of enforceable grades and standards for fruits and vegetables 
and in the marketing of fruit and vegetable products.

Bulgaria: Resident Agricultural Policy Advisor--ERS--Ronald Meekhof 
(USDA/ERS) began his long-term assignment as policy advisor to the 
Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture in 1992. His assignment was extended 
through 1993 and 1994. Short-term visits of Washington-based ERS 
personnel, who come to work on specific economic studies, serve to support 
the assignment. 

Bulgaria: Fruit and Vegetable Processors Training--Provide training to 
selected Bulgarians in the fresh and processed fruit and vegetables 
industries. 24 participants trained in the U.S. during May - October 1992.

Bulgaria: Fruit and Vegetable Marketing and Processing Training-- Provide 
training to selected Bulgarians in fresh and processed fruit and vegetable 
industries. 16 participants trained in the US during October 1992 - June 
1993 in the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Baltics: Sector Assessment: Poultry, Dairy and Livestock, Feed-- FAS, 
FAS/ICD--17 August - 4 September, a team visited the three Baltic 
countries to analyze feed-related issues, especially in the dairy and 
poultry industries. The team made assessments regarding opportunities for 
agribusiness development, market promotion, and prospects for improving 
trade and assistance in animal feeds. With regard to the possibilities for 
joint-venture partnerships, the assessment was that uncertainties in 
privatization, banking and legal matters make these arrangements unlikely. 
The greatest needs were found to be in feed and forage management, 
improved dairy and poultry genetics and veterinary diagnostics. 

Baltics: Development of the Poultry Sector--FAS/ICD--Reciprocal visits 
sponsored between US farmer cooperatives and associations and Baltic 
producers to forge linkages to achieve the following ends: to assist in 
the improvement of poultry genetics, processing and sanitation technology 
and to assist in the reorganization of the poultry sector to integrate 
smaller producers. 

Baltics: Development of the Dairy Sector--FAS/ICD--A US-based dairy 
genetics breeding program was begun for each Baltic nation, including 
assessments of US genetic stock relative to that of west European and 
Canadian stock.

Baltics: Technical Assistance in Dairy Genetics--FAS/ICD--1) Breeding 
Trials/Resident Advisor: A resident US advisor in Riga, Latvia will 
coordinate a program to demonstrate the advantages of US dairy genetics to 
Baltic animal breeding institutes and dairy farmers. Agricultural Research 
Service (USDA/ARS) animal breeding specialists will contribute technical 
assistance to the project. The US Dairy Genetics Council pledged a 
donation of 10,000 units of Holstein semen, valued at $100,000 for the 
project. 2) US-based training: The resident advisor selects up to 12 
Baltic extension agents (4 from each country) for a 6-month program at 
Hutchinson Technical College in Minnesota. The Dairy Genetics Council will 
coordinate the program which will train the Baltic extension agents in the 
training of other extension personnel and dairy farmers in breeding 
techniques.

Eastern Europe/Regional: Cochran Program Fellowships (Regional)-- 
FAS/ICD--Training for Eastern European private sector and government 
representatives in the US to support technical assistance activities 
undertaken through FAS's agricultural offices in those countries. Funding 
is allocated by country. 55 persons were trained during June - September 
1993 with FY 1992 funds: 15 from Poland, 8 from the Czech Republic, 10 
from Slovakia, 8 from Hungary, 6 from Bulgaria, and 8 from Albania.