Governor McAuliffe Announces New Biotech Agricultural Export Deal to China
~Richmond-based Agrivita Biogroup Developing Sales of Feed Additives for Dairy, Swine Industries; Business Furthers Virginia's Position in Fast Growing Ag-Bio Sector~
BEIJING, CHINA – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced as part of his trade and marketing mission to Asia that Agrivita Biogroup, Inc. (Agrivita) has reached new export deals of animal feed additives to Chinese importers. Agrivita is a Richmond-based company that specializes in bio-science and animal nutrition, health, and performance with a focus on providing advanced and proven solutions for modern agriculture. The agreement was facilitated during meetings at the VIV Beijing large animal feed exhibition trade show in September after Agrivita began exploring sales opportunities to China with the assistance of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) international marketing and trade staff over the last year.
Speaking about the new trade agreement, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am thrilled to announce this export opportunity for Agrivita Biogroup. Virginia’s aggressive international marketing and trade efforts are yielding new sales agreements and new business partners for the Commonwealth. This is the type of deal I urged my agricultural development and marketing team to seek as we work to build a new Virginia economy. Today’s win both furthers our position in Virginia’s growing bio-science sector and moves us closer to my goal of making the Commonwealth the East Coast Capital for agricultural and forestry product exports.”
Assisted by VDACS international marketing and trade staff, Agrivita secured new export business in China this year and next. These new sales are important for the company that only recently navigated the challenging Chinese regulatory process. Agrivita worked with VDACS in 2013 to successfully register its product in China and, earlier this year, shipped samples of its product to be used in feeding trials throughout the country. The results of those trials showed increased milk production in dairy cattle, more efficient growth in poultry, and greater weight gain in swine production.
VDACS international marketing and trade staff and the VDACS China trade representative continued supporting the company to overcome significant certification and regulatory issues and develop a marketing strategy to compete in a rapidly growing sector of the animal feed business in China.
“The new export sales for Agrivita Biogroup is a great example of how our international marketing and trade efforts work in a comprehensive way with large and small agricultural and forestry exporters to identify new market opportunities, make the right buyer introductions, and follow up with the necessary resources to develop a winning strategy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Further, we’re particularly excited about the opportunity these new exports represent as agricultural biotechnology is a growing sub-sector of bio-science in Virginia that can be harnessed and poised for additional growth.”
“The long and intensive work we put into this project is finally paying dividends,” said Arunas Vanagas, President of Agrivita Biogroup, Inc. “With a full team effort from everyone at Agrivita Biogroup’s Virginia- and China-based offices and continuous support from VDACS international marketing and trade staff, we have already set five distributors and in the near future are planning to add four more to cover all targeted provinces and animal sectors in China. From the humble $400,000 in sales we made this year, our conservative projection for 2015 is well over $1.5 million. We are happy with our success and are looking forward to continued effective cooperation and support from VDACS.”
Today's announcement comes on the second leg of the Governor’s almost two-week trade and marketing mission to Japan, China, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Over the eleven-day mission, Governor McAuliffe, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Secretary Haymore, and VDACS international trade representatives are meeting with agribusinesses and importers to encourage more investment in Virginia and promote Virginia agricultural and forestry products. The delegation is also engaged in meetings organized by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tourism Corporation to promote trade and investment in a wide array of sectors.
Agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia reached a record high of $2.85 billion in 2013. China is Virginia’s largest export customer of agricultural and forestry products. Last year, more than $580 million worth of product was exported to China. Since 2010, agricultural and forestry exports from Virginia to China have increased by more than 200 percent.
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. More information about the Weldon Cooper Center’s study can be found at http://www.coopercenter.org/node/2/publications/economic-impacts-agriculture-and-forestry-virginia-revised-2012.
According to a 2014 Battelle/BIO report, Virginia’s bio-science industry is thriving, with more than 26,500 industry jobs that spanned 1,451 business establishments in 2012. The same study shows Virginia enjoyed double-digit employment gains from 2007 – 2012 in the agricultural feedstock and chemicals sub-sector, which involves industries that utilize biochemistry and biotechnology for producing everything from food to fuel.