Cancel OK

Associations offer benefits beyond networking


In business, who you know can be as important as what you know, and the service or product being sold.

In this vein, facilitating meetings and arranging networking events are among the benefits a trade association can offer its members.

Indeed, just being a member can get a foot in the door or a meeting on the schedule. But there are numerous other valuable perks that can benefit businesses large and small.

Many groups offer participation in and support for trade shows, help in identifying potential opportunities, help with import and export processes, and much more.

Fedefruta in Chile, for example, hosts Fruittrade, an annual convention and business roundtable that affords attendees the opportunity to network and negotiate with producers and exporters from around the world.

“We help with projects and programs that give our members access to financing and technology to help them grow within the supply chain,” said Fedefruta’s president Jorge Valenzuela. “We also conduct training programs for people working in agriculture, among other things.”

Jorge de Souza, technical and project director Abrafrutas, Brazil, said his group also offers, among other benefits, participation in projects like ApexBrasil, institutional representation at local and international agencies, access to information and experience on how to sell and promote agricultural products overseas, and free training and consulting on strategic planning.

“In agribusiness, there is no chance of surviving as a small farmer if you’re not involved in an association or cooperative,” he said.

PRO ECUADOR provides its members with similar benefits including market research, competitive intelligence, and services like arranging meetings for business missions.

“We are always adapting to the fast-changing world by diversifying our products,” said José Cabascango, who serves as trade commissioner of Ecuador in Chicago and reports directly to the Vice Minister of PRO ECUADOR. “We are always working toward growth, but we’re also aware that we’re constantly competing with other countries.”

Most produce trade associations offer the same kinds of benefits and advantages, with small variations, and all have largely the same goal of expanding their industry’s reach by promoting the products or services of their members.

As ASOEX’s Caballero puts it, “Our goal is to increase the exports of fruit from Chile and to further develop best practices, new technologies, certification programs, and international promotion.”

This is a multi-part series from Produce Blueprints, in which we explore the role of trade associations in global commerce.