Over one year after the first case of COVID-19, the world still faces a major public health and economic crisis. Given the dire situation, one might expect fatal disruptions to food supply chains and a large downturn in the international trade of American agricultural goods. To be sure, international agricultural trade is facing dramatic price changes and broken supply chains, but trade remains strong considering these challenges.
After meeting first-hand American food exporters, it is not hard to see why. As an international trade intern with NASDA, I had the opportunity to help with the first-ever virtual buyers mission associated with the Americas Food and Beverage Trade Show. It is true that the digital world cannot replace a live event; sampling is important in the food industry, and Zoom is never the same as face-to-face contact. However, these buyers and sellers still engaged in business despite being thrown into this unfamiliar virtual environment.
The NASDA family also embodies this resiliency. Notwithstanding the difficulties 2020 has inflicted, NASDA employees continue, not only to maintain the status quo, but also improve upon their work wherever possible. During my time here, the organization implemented a new contacts record-keeping system and hosted the first virtual Tri-National Accords. Furthermore, everyone I have talked to has been more than willing to offer me career advice and encouragement. As I finish my college career and enter the workforce, I hope to carry with me this mental and emotional strength, which I have learned are essential attributes in navigating unforeseen circumstances.