Finding export buyers for your products can be challenging, see how to

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As an exporter, finding buyers for your product can be the most difficult challenge in your business, particularly when you’re just getting started or are selling in a new market. Selling in another country is never easy. You need to adapt to cultural norms, language, and travel barriers in order to succeed. But new technology makes the world smaller and makes finding buyers overseas much easier than it was in the past. Use the five tips below to find export buyers for your products. ​

Foreign Agencies

Many foreign countries have state-sponsored or state-controlled companies, called trading companies, which import products, usually in bulk orders. Do your homework and identify countries you believe your export would be great for, then contact their embassy in the U.S. or their agency directly in their own country.

United States-based embassies usually have a representative who can help you, and they almost always speak English. Different agencies are going to specialize in different imports, such as raw materials, agriculture, electronic/IT equipment and more. Having a foreign representative on your side can help you find exactly who you need to be in contact with.

Buying Agents

Some foreign agencies are proactive and have buying agents in the U.S. actively looking for suppliers such as yourself. Again, your local embassy is a great place to start looking for these specific buyers but don’t forget the power of the internet. Browse the country’s import-export agency’s site, or simply search for local representatives. When you do make contact, ensure you’re dealing with an official or accredited representative with the authority to do business on the agency’s behalf.

Foreign Wholesalers

Just as there are wholesale distributors in the U.S., there are wholesalers in other countries. Dealing with private firms instead of government agencies may be much quicker, and letting them deal with the red tape of imports is a big benefit, too. U.S.-based import-export organizations have lists of reputable foreign distributors, saving you the time of searching for them yourself.

While your margins may be smaller by selling to a middleman, the time you save trying to sell your exports directly to the market may be well worth it.

Commission Agents

Similar to foreign agencies having their own agents looking for your products, foreign wholesalers do as well. The difference is usually these agents are middlemen, finding great export products and buying on behalf of the foreign distributor. Dealing with a local agent can be far easier than dealing with a foreign-based agent. These agents are usually very motivated since they’re paid on commission.

Your Own Salesperson

Don’t believe you have to do all the work yourself. Just like foreign wholesalers commission buyers to find imports on their behalf, you can commission a sales representative to find individuals and firms for your exports. Your cost of goods will rise by having to pay your sales representative, but you’ll be free to concentrate on manufacturing your product or searching for other markets yourself.

People and firms want to import your products, but it’s just a matter of finding them. Incorporate one or more of these five strategies to find potential buyers for your exports. Begin your journey by joining cokodeal: Africa’s largest export platform for foodstuff and commodities to link you to credible  international buyers.

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How to Find International buyers for my foodstuff export business

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When you are trying to get into international trading, finding customers can be one of the first obstacles you have to overcome. But nowadays there are plenty of options that you can take advantage and discover new opportunities overseas. Always keep an eye on how to find buyers for export products. If you are not able to identify customers, all your efforts will be in vain.

So, after you identify the product that you want to export to foreign countries like African countries, you will need local contacts to complete your import-export business. Besides funds and legal matters, any exporter needs an importer to help him introduce their goods on the local market. And when it comes to African countries, your possibilities are almost endless considering the extended needs of such countries.

You can find clients interested in a variety of goods and increase your profit significantly. Here are the main ways to increase your export buyers list and become successful in the international business!

1. Start with a good and in-depth online research

Research is crucial to any success in import-export business, and it is important not to neglect this phase. When it comes to how to find customers for export business, the knowledge you gather can make a great difference. Of course, the first option of research is the online research which can give you a lot of information about your future international trading process. There are plenty of websites and forums that can help you but also many local importers looking for foreign exporters just like you!
This B2B import export portal will put you in contact with plenty of African importers looking for new partners. Many goods are needed in Africa, and you can supply the market the best you can. But you will not be able to do that unless you find a reliable importer to help you with the process.

There is a trick though, especially when you are looking for business partners online: you need to watch out for scammers. Unfortunately, on such popular websites like the B2B portal, you may find plenty of importers that do not look trustworthy. However, after some time, you shall be able to identify the real importers and spot the potential scammers. Keep in mind to check the internet for more information about potential importers. You can find a reliable website and even some reviews to put your mind at ease.

Keeping in touch with other exporters will help you as well. You can find forums with different topics for foreign exporters like you. And you might be amazed to see that many successful exporters can refer you to a good importer that you can trust. You have even higher chances if your products are different than other’s because this type of business is based a lot on the competition. Stay active and vigilant on such forums and try to analyze your options before starting any serious collaboration with a potential client.

2. Invest in your brand awareness

Even before you start looking for importers to fulfill your import export business, you have to invest in yourself. Make your company visible and attractive for your export buyers by investing in your brand awareness. It means you will need a professional website with very clear information on it. Also, consider investing in an SEO campaign to reach more of your target audience through the content of your website. Use keywords and links to become more popular among the best search engines. All these tricks and tips can be applied by your co-workers but also by hiring a professional SEO team that can help you in the long run.

It is an investment worth making especially if you are planning to break into foreign markets. Your official website should have important information about your company such as contact information and offers for your future buyers. Keep in mind that your clients should find everything they need on your website as this is your business card.

Having a professional PR team is going to help you a lot while you are building your brand awareness. Also, applying different strategies can increase your odds to be successful from a marketing point of view.

Your PR department will make sure to be actively involved in these strategies and research the market to build you a great slogan and campaign.

This type of marketing will help you reach new customers around the world and even develop your business by entering new markets. And if you neglect your brand awareness, you may risk to not reaching the business potential that you aim for.

Your logo is also very important as it has to be easily recognized worldwide but also adapted to specific countries. For instance; if you want to enter an African country, consider using a logo that will catch the local’s attention and won’t pass by unnoticed.

The language that you use in your PR campaign can make a difference as well. Try to be aware of local languages before advertising into a certain country. In Africa, you can always use English but also French as both languages are very common. You can also add some local words to your campaign so that people will relate to your brand more than they do with others. And the competition on this market is high, so you have to be as original as possible. Either way, a good PR will act as a magnet when it comes to bringing new customers to you, so it is well worth the investment!

Email marketing is also a great PR strategy that can bring you, new clients if you are using it well. You can purchase databases with different importers and even important local stores, and you can start negotiating with them and identify the best to start a long-term collaboration with. Having access to such databases can be pricey, but it is all worth it once your profit starts increasing. And the good news is that they can bring you a new customer in a matter of weeks from accessing them!

Think that every investment that you make in the beginning phase of your business is going to bring you more positive outcome shortly and it is never lost as long as you do it wisely. You can find databases for sale online, but you need to pay attention to how authentic they are because it is a high risk of fraud when you purchase one from an unknown or uncertified website!

3. Make the customers you already have a number one priority

Even if your main concern might be to reach more customers, you have to pay attention to the clients that you already have. Most often than not, your current clients will open new opportunities for you to reach new ones. How can that happen? Happy clients will always bring you new ones by referring your business to others that are interested in buying similar products. It is a very popular form of PR, considering that good advertising is always beneficial when you need to increase your database of customers. And when it comes to how to get foreign clients, the key might be to your current clients. Make sure to get good reviews from your current customers and make them public. You can also allocate a section of testimonials on your website so that new customers can see what others think of your business.

If you try to keep your customers faithful and satisfied, your chances to break into new markets will increase and so will your profit. You can do that by adjusting your offers to their needs and make sure that the import-export business is one that works for both yours and their benefit.
Usually, your importers will know other importers as well and will not hesitate to recommend your business to them if they are happy with your services. However, if it happens to have a client that is not satisfied with an import-export business with you, make sure to take the necessary actions to correct the outcome. One client that is not satisfied should be a big red flag for you and your future commercial adventure.

A new potential client will always check your past activity and reviews before even contacting you. Some of them might also get in touch with your previous customers to gather more information before they decide to get in contact with you. This is a way to lose or gain clients before you even become aware of them.

4. Get familiar with the local market’s needs

Staying informed is essential when you are hunting for new customers for your import-export business. An overseas market introduction service will help you identify the main needs of the market that you want to break into. Get familiar with the goods that the local market needs and evaluate your potential to supply them. Especially if you get into an African market, the demands are high for many types of goods, and you can talk with different importers before deciding what type of trading you can get involved in. Check local forums and determine what type of impact you can have on the market to develop your business.

Most of the times, researching the market will also put you in contact with potential buyers. There are many guides that you can read to determine the viability of your business as well as gather information about local importers. When it comes to African importers, they are willing to import almost any type of goods from food to electronics and clothing which leaves you with a wide variety of options.
Talking with local importers can also help you adapt your business according to their needs to have better deals for your future profit. In any case, you can only benefit from this type of research, and your business can significantly increase under the indirect guidance of the importers.

While you are researching the local market that you want to break into, make sure also to stay informed regarding the legal aspects of it. Be aware of the paperwork required during an import-export process and understand that such regulations can defer from a category of goods to another which is why details always matter in this type of business. But don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information that you might come across because you can deal with it better once you have your importer and buyer export. If you already have local contacts in countries like African ones, you are a step ahead of other exporters just trying to get in the system. It is a hard work process but well worth it in the end!

5. Start following embassies fairs and economic changes in the local market

Sometimes, the authorities will offer you better answers than any other research ways. Make sure to check the official websites of different institutions such as embassies or even local ports to identify the opportunities that you are looking for. You might be amazed to discover that there are plenty of events organized for import-export business such as thematic fairs that you can participate on.
At such events, you can identify importers and buyers that will become your future international trading partners and change the course of your business altogether! Since the import-export process is usually in the good name of a country’s economy, the chances are that authorities will do their best to facilitate this process and put foreign exporters in touch with trustworthy local importers.

Another advantage that you can obtain by being present at such fairs and subscribing to embassies websites is the possibility to find a buyer’s agent. It can help you a lot while you are trying to break into a new African country because they will act as a mediator between you and potential buyers. By having such an agent, you can be almost sure that you will avoid possible scammers and only deal with honorable local importers.

Usually, buyers’ agents tend to receive a percentage of the transaction that they facilitate which is fair, but it is also a small price to pay for a lot more benefits that you can enjoy. To find such an agent, you can check the embassies’ forums since they are very active there, looking for clients. You can for sure find them at the fairs that we mentioned above and also through local importers that you might already know or work with.

Buyers’ agents will help you find customers to sell your goods from all categories, and they will also speed up the formalities and negotiation phase. But there are many other reasons why you should consider working with a buyer’s agent especially if you are a small business. Many small business ideas involve cooperating with an agent until you get familiar with the import-export process which can take from several months to several years. A mediator can make this process a lot easier for you as well as they can also help you skip different obstacles that you can find on the way.

You can get membership from local councils as well regarding export information as well as have access to a list of importers. It will be information that will help you significantly especially if you are entering a new market. Official memberships can grant you access to different facilities and also make a big difference for your business and your contact list since you will be meeting a lot of people that you can work with.


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Cultivate pumpkin vegetables also known as Ugwu leaves for export business

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This is the fluted pumpkin leaf , also commonly called ugu leaf in Nigeria. The Ibibio’s call the leaf Nkong Ubong , Efiks call it Ikong Ubong Igbos named the leaf Ugu , the Ghanaians Krobonku and the Sierra Leonians Gonugbe .

This leaf is mostly cultivated in tropical Africa e.g. Ghana and Nigeria also in Sri lanka, India, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

You can get pumpkin leaves in online as dried ugu leaves, if you live outside Africa and want to prepare this meal.

Another leaf used in this soup as mentioned above is water leaf (Talinum triangulare ). You can substitute this with spinach if you are unable to get water leaf
Anecdotal reports has it hat this is the most nutritious of all African soups. Ugu leaf is believed to be very rich in iron, and has been used, even by doctors to rapidly build up patients blood count within days of ingestion.

The fresh leaf is also rich in vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin K, all necessary for strong immunity against diseases, strong bone, heart and optimal functioning of the blood clotting system.

The high vegetable content also means high dietary fibre, good for sound bowel function and ideal in a weight control diet.



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Why Yam Flour Production for Export is a very lucrative business to invest an export marketplace for foodstuff and commodities.

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Yams are second to cassava as the most important tropical root crop.


Yams are a staple crop in many parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. In the South Pacific, the yam is a significant food crop, accounting for over 20%, 8.1%, and 4.6% of the total dietary calorie intake in the Kingdom of Tonga, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea, respectively.

Besides their importance as food source, yams also play a significant role in the socio-cultural lives of some producing regions like the celebrated New Yam Festival in West Africa, a practice that has also extended to overseas where there is a significant population of the tribes that observe it.


In some parts of South-eastern Nigeria, the meals offered to gods and ancestors consists principally of mashed yam. Yams store relatively longer in comparison with other tropical fresh produce, and therefore stored yam represents stored wealth which can be sold all-year-round by the farmer or marketer. In parts of Igboland in Southeastern Nigeria, it is customary for the parents of a bride to offer her yams for planting as a resource to assist them in raising a family.


There is no doubt that Nigeria produces yam in abundance. In every state of the country, yam is available.

It is estimated that over 30% of the harvested yam tubers are lost as waste due to in availability of processing and preservation mechanism. Even the traditional processing method is out modelled and laborious but also grossly inefficient for mass production to satisfy the teeming population and local demand and also make room for the export market to earn scarce foreign exchange that is badly needed at this time of the country.


The consumption of yam cuts across cultural, religious and demographic boundaries.

A cherished delicacy when served with well prepared soup. Its processing shelf life, adds value to the tubers, before being exported to enhance their economic value, reduces wastes and cuts down the cost of transporting the product to longer distances compared with the heavy wet tubers that are unprocessed.


The fact that this can be preserved helps to stabilise prices during the off- harvest season.

Technical Considerations:


The plant aimed at here will take drudgery off the processor, increase the output as well as give good quality finished product for export. Its rated capacity is 300 metric tones (MT) of finished yam flour per year (8) hours per day and 250 days in one year) after allowing about 2.5% waste. This means that about 1, 500 MT of raw tubers will be needed per annum.

The machinery and equipment needed to process yam flour are:

(a) Yam peeler (d) Milling machine (b) Boiler (e) Scale (c) Dryer (f) Ba~ sealing machine (g) Packing machine

All the above machines and process technology are source able locally. The spare pats are abundant and readily available while the cost is affordable and maintenance cheap.

Production Process:

Briefly, the processes involved in yam flour production are (1) Procurement of good quality tubers, weighing and washing of them (2) Peeling the washed tubers. This is preferably done manually because the peeling machine is difficult to fabricate locally. (3) Grinding of the peeled tubes into pulp (4) Drying of the ground yam pulp (5) Milling the dried pulp (6) Sieving to avoid having lumps when being prepared for eating (7) Bagging and packaging in cellophane (2kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg) Raw Materials


The raw materials needed are wet yam tubers. These are obtainable from farms cultivated by plantation, small holder and co-operative farmers. If there is a country that should take this project very seriously it is Nigeria. It is the world’s largest producer of yams (over six million metric tones) accounting for over 50% of its output. Of this output, only about 5% (300, 000 MT) is put into industrial use by way of chips and flour.


The states in Nigeria most noted for yam tuber production are Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Niger, Sokoto Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Federal Capital Territory etc. The Market The market is both local and international. The later market should be targeted where there is preponderance of inhabitants of African decent.


The factors that positively affect the demand for this product include the prevalence of foreign exchange crunch (which has left many with little personal disposable income to import food items), the increase in population of the country, the fact that its consumption cuts across demographic classes, income levels and religions boundaries etc. The products can be sold to other parts of the world including Britain, America and other ECOWAS Countries



The best place to, locate this project is the area where yam tubers are obtained in abundance. The tubers are perishable commodity. Besides, they are heavy and so transport and expense is an important cost inputs that should seriously be considered and reduced to increase profit for the promoter. Other factors to be considered include: (a) Availability of labour and raw materials in commercial quantity (b) Availability and serviceability of infrastructural facilities (light, water, access road etc) (c) Ease or otherwise of the accessibility of the plant site to urban area/market both for local consumption and export etc. To accommodate the plant, one needs a large building with a land area of about 1, 500m2.


 Labour Requirement:


About 15 persons will be needed to cover all the aspects of the project purchasing, administration, production, security marketing etc. A comprehensive bankable and up-to date business plan is needed to back up the loan application. Any prospective promoter is advised to approach an experienced industrial projects development consultant for assistance. The actual cost at the time of implementation will be determined by the scale of operation sought and after the business plan has been prepared. Financial Implications Investment depends on how much that the prospective investor has earmarked for this project. The modern water project demands large sum of money to procure all the required hi-tech machines.


The implementation of this will have the following advantages among others (a) Creation of job opportunities (b) Opening up of the rural areas (c) Poverty alleviation among the yam growers and processors (d) Enhancement of economic and social well-being of the promoters (f) The processing of otherwise wasting agricultural produce etc. Aggressive and serious promoters are encouraged to give this project a shot.


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How to invest in fish and shrimps export business and its regulations an export marketplace for foodstuff and commodities.

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The  fish and shrimps are the most highly traded food commodity in the world, as only 40 per cent is left between the point of catch and consumption, adding that more that 80 per cent of the shrimp caught in Nigeria’s territorial waters is exported


Nigeria is one of the tropical countries endowed with rich shrimp resources.

With rich organic deposit arising from runoff the Niger Delta region is the heartland of shrimp and oil production in Nigeria. Having a production capacity of 12, 000 metric tons (MT) per year, Nigeria’s shrimp supply are presently from capture fisheries Shrimping in both the small-scale and large-scale fisheries sub-sectors in Nigeria is unregulated.


Issuances of trawl-permit to industrial operators by the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF; the regulating agency), is driven principally by the permit fee and foreign exchange that export from the sub-sector generates; thus, least attention is paid to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of the shrimps stocks, which no doubt, is the panacea for sustainable fisheries.



Marketing of Shrimps

The major markets for the Nigerian shrimp in Europe are Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France and the USA. The semi-processed white Prawns attract higher price (ranging according to sizes 1-7 from US$ 3 – US$ 18/kg) than the peeled, deveined and decapitated brown shrimps sold between US$ 2 and US$ 3. All are usually packaged in 2.2-kg packets into master cartons. The shrimp catches are ususally fairly clean, though they may contain a little bit of debris and mud/sand, which are easily washed on-board the vessel.



Out of the 36 operational and active shrimping companies, 14 exported shrimps to Europe in 1998. The total export was 8 028.157 MT valued at 25 865 786.43 US$. Only one company exported processed shrimps, while the others sold them unprocessed. It is worthy to note that fishery products like cuttle fish and crab legs are gradually coming into the export trade though at a marginal level.



Fish fillets especially soles (cynoglossidae) were also exported in 1998. Nigeria met the European Union quality standards and is therefore authorized to export shrimps to Europe. Since then, shrimp export has become better organised and it is safe to say that no product from Nigeria has been rejected in the international market as before the introduction of international standards. The Federal Department of Fisheries as the “Competent Authority” to certify shrimps for export has worked hard to ensure that shrimp and other fishery products meet the above mentioned standards.


Nigeria’s efforts to ensure responsible inshore fishing practices and proper management of the living marine fish and shell fish resources date back to 1971 when the first comprehensive marine fisheries legislation came into force under the Sea Fisheries Decree No 30 of 1971. In order to further promote the sustainability of the inshore fisheries and the fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria, the old decree was repealed in 1992 and replaced by the Sea Fisheries Decree No 71 of 1992.


The y2859e Decree contains the general provisions for the conditions for issue of “Motor Fishing Vessel Licences”, duties and powers of Authorised Persons and penalties for offences committed under it. The supplements of the Decree namely “The Sea Fisheries (Fishing) Regulations” and the “Sea Fisheries (Licensing) Regulations” contain specific provisions which guide and control investment in industrial marine fishing business and mode of operating such a venture in Nigeria.


The current sea fisheries licensing and fishing regulations which impact on shrimp trawling, its by-catch and discard are:

  1. Obligatory pre-purchase assurance in writing by the licensing authority that any procured vessel entering into Nigerian shrimping business would be licensed after due process. This is a measure to control, before investment, fishing effort and for preventing over-capitalisation.
  2. Vessel survey and tonnage measurement in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Transport’s Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS) to ensure that only suitable and permissible vessels enter into the Nigerian shrimping or fishing fleet.
  3. Restriction of size of a shrimp trawler to 23.2-m LOA and 130 GT to prevent over-sized vessels from entering into the trawl shrimp fishery.


  1. Delimitation of a 5 nm non-trawling zone which places restrictions on trawling in a sea water area covering about 7 898.78 km² of the Nigerian continental shelf essentially to protect the nursery ground from indiscriminate fishing. It is also to protect the artisanal fishermen who operate within the zone, as well as to reduce conflict between them and trawler operators.
  2. Code and mesh size specification, 44 mm (1¾”) stretched, for any shrimp trawl net to promote sustainability of inshore trawl fisheries through rational exploitation.
  3. Prohibition of the use of the same vessel licensed to trawl for fish from trawling for shrimps in order to limit the efforts to trawl for shrimps.
  4. Prohibition of dumping (i.e. discard) of edible and marketable sea products and transhipment at sea of by-catch. The immediate purpose is to encourage vessels, by bringing all catches back to the home port, to increase supply of fish to the domestic market; indirectly this should also discourage non-compliance with mesh size regulation which lead to catching small-sized or juvenile fish. By the side, when this provision is complied with by the industry, it will allow for easier study of the by-catch problem.
  5. Regulation concerning a minimum size of fish for sale to discourage the catching of under-sized fish and ensure the use of legal meshsize in the codend.
  6. Prohibition of single and pair trawling by motorized vessels less than 20 GT and in waters shallower than 18 m to protect the juvenile fish and biodiversity in fishing grounds which also happen to be the nursery grounds in some areas.
  7. The installation of Turtle Excluder Device (TED) on shrimp trawl nets is a requirement from 19 September 1996.


The issue of closed areas and/or season is major concern for the stakeholders in the Nigerian Shrimp trawling industry and the fisheries authority. Researches are being intensified in order that concrete decisions are based on scientific knowledge and evidence. There are periodic meetings among the members of Nigerian Trawler Owners Association, the Federal Department of Fisheries, the Nigeria Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) and all other fisheries law enforcement agents i.e. the Nigerian Navy, The Marine Dept. of Nigeria Police, Nigerian Customs Service, surveyors or examiners appointed under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. At these consultative fora, matters relating to legislation or any issue of interest to the inshore fishing industry, such as the management of the finite marine fisheries resources are exhaustively deliberated upon.

Constraints to better participation of stakeholders in the management of resources y2859ely relate to the fear of profit loss through perceived reduction in catches when gears with better selectivity are used.

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