Maryland Ag Department goes to El Salvador to strengthen business, farming ties

25 August 2023- The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) in partnership with the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) recently conducted a trade mission to El Salvador to explore opportunities and initiatives to strengthen agriculture in both Maryland and Central America.  The mission was coordinated through Maryland International Ag in conjunction with the Maryland International Agriculture and Environment Conference being held in October.

“Trade missions are the key to generating new and exciting business opportunities for both Maryland and the countries we partner with,” said MDA Secretary Kevin Atticks.  “El Salvador is a country with a rich diversity of agricultural products and services that Maryland can benefit from learning more about. I thank Maryland International Ag for allowing this incredible experience.”

During the visit Secretary Atticks and MDE Secretary Serena McIlwain visited with farmers struggling to produce culturally-important red beans due to the pests moving into the area in part due to climate change.  Discussion around this issue took place with the Minister of Agriculture about ways to provide technical assistance and research partners.  Additionally, the delegation visited coffee farmers to learn more about the ways they are rebuilding their operations after the gang violence that plagued this small nation.  The meeting centered on production methods that are good for climate, biodiversity and the environment.

As a result of this mission, MDA and MDE will seek opportunities to assist small scale farmers to market their products, especially in collaboration with Salvadoran-American businesses here in Maryland. 

“Our goal is to ensure that the more than 200,000 Salvadorans in Maryland have a front-row seat in the growing green economy. We saw firsthand how El Salvador is charging ahead to do this work, just like we are,” said MDE Secretary Serena McIlwain. “I look forward to the many opportunities we have to work together in the future.”

The Moore/Miller Administration has a keen focus on building a new green economy that leaves no one behind, including the hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans in Maryland.  This green economy will be built on innovative ideas and technological development and will examine ways to build upon the existing “Friendship Agreement” between El Salvador and the State of Maryland to advance economic growth and economic protection in both places.  Much like El Salvador, Maryland wants to advance sustainable agriculture, forest conservation, and land practices that promote clean water, clean air, and help us tackle climate change.  

For more information about the recent trade mission and the October conference please visit