Georgia’s  agricultural producers should explore the possibility of exporting their products to Argentina during its off-growing seasons when U.S. farmers are gathering their crops, Tommy Irvin,  the state’s agricultural commissioner, told GlobalFax upon his return to Atlanta  last week from a trade mission to South America headed by Gov. Zell Miller.

      Mr. Irvin said he investigated what produce was being imported into Argentina from Georgia, and said that he felt Georgia could export more.   In the process, he added, he found some California blueberries which looked “low quality compared to ours,” and suggested Georgia blueberry growers quickly explore the possibility of sending their produce there.

      Because Argentina is on the Atlantic ocean, he thought that Georgia growers would be able to deliver their produce more quickly and in better condition than that of the Californians.

      Argentinean growers, he added, should consider exporting to Georgia and elsewhere in the U.S. its organically-grown products where they would find a “niche” not filled by U.S. producers.

       He also anticipated  that the U.S. would import substantial amounts of Argentinean beef when the meat is permitted to enter the U.S. in September now that the  industry’s problems with foot-and-mouth disease have been contained.

      Besides exploring the opportunities Argentina provides for Georgia farmers, Mr. Irvin  met with officials  supporting Buenos Aires’ bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2004.  The agriculture department could be of assistance in developing sites as it did for  the Olympic Games in Atlanta, he said.

      For more information, call  the division of international trade at (404) 656-3740.