Commissioner for Agriculture in Louisiana Mike Strain heads a commercial delegation that traveled today to Cuba to negotiate a potential export of food to this country.
The Cuban Embassy in the United States posted on its social networks the visit of Strain along with 94 representatives from the agricultural field, seeking to achieve a business trade with Cuba, valued at $400 million USD.
Strain said that it is important to land and be in Cuba because a very competitive scenario is coming.
He praised the quality of the rice grown in Louisiana and highlighted the favorable proximity of that region for the Cuban market, although he did not mentioned the economic, financial and commercial blockade set by the United States since 1962 and recently strengthened.
The Cuban delegation headed by Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, Minister of Agriculture, finished today a visit to the United States, invited by the US Department of Agriculture.
During his stay in Washington and Iowa, the Cuban Minister met his counterpart Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Michael Scuse, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce. The Minister also visited places of interest related to agricultural production and research, including Iowa State University, where he had exchanges with farmers and experts.
Likewise, the Cuban delegation met entrepreneurs and representatives from organizations that favor both, the commercial links and the lifting of the blockade such as the US Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba and Engage Cuba.
With the purpose to strengthen the bonds in this sector, the highest authorities in Agriculture from both countries agreed to continue negotiations for the signature of specific instruments on cooperation in animal health and plant health matters, with the view to implement the objectives identified in the Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture Cooperation and other Related Areas, signed on March 21st, 2016 in Havana, on the occasion of President Obama’s visit.
Both parties agreed on the importance to broaden the cooperation by exchanging experiences and doing joint research between Cuba and US institutions, to be taken to practical terms for the agricultural development.
The Chamber of Commerce of United States was the host today of a meeting on the current panorama of the agricultural sector in Cuba, and had the participation of the Cuban Minister in the field, Gustavo Rodríguez.
Cuban Minister Rodríguez explained the plans of the Cuban authorities guided to stimulate the agricultural development of the island, and had a meeting with Carlos Gutiérrez, president of the United States -Cuba Business Council (USCBC).
The Minister of Agriculture in the Caribbean island has foreseen to meet US Agriculture Vice Minister Michael Scuse.
Cuban Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez, will lead a delegation, which will visit the United States in response to the invitation made by his US counterpart, Thomas Vilsack, announced today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.
According to the note by the Ministry, the visit will take place from June 1 to 3.
Rodriguez will hold exchanges in Washington with officials from the departments of Agriculture and Commerce, as well as with organizations, which support the elimination of the blockade and the normalization of relations with Cuba.
The US restrictions imposed on agricultural trade with Cuba harm the interests of US businessmen, who lost ground to their competitors in Asia and Latin America, according to a report of the group Engage Cuba.
The report written in collaboration with US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) refers to the benefits that a normal exchange in the industry would bring to the states of Iowa, Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota.
According to the report, the US agricultural entrepreneurs have lost Cuban market share to competitors in the European Union, Brazil, Argentina and Vietnam, because of Washington’s policy towards the Caribbean country.
The export of several products to Jamaica is one of the priorities of Heroes del 26 de Julio agricultural implements factory, located in this city.
Executives of the company, founded on July 27, 1981 with Bulgarian consultancy, recently traveled to the neighboring Caribbean island with three-disc plows, which underwent field tests that endorsed their excellent yields.
Juan Carlos Pargas, director of the company, told ACN that the interest of Jamaicans for productions of his entity also includes other non-agricultural implements which are also manufactured in his enterprise.
The Cuban National Small Farmers Association, ANAP, has denounced in a communiqué what it describes as attempts by the U.S. government to lure food growers and alienate them from supporting the Revolution.
The farmers’ organization said that was the true aim behind recent U.S. measures supposedly seeking to relax the import of some agricultural goods like coffee. The measures, announced by the U.S. State Department on April 22nd, are specific in requiring that persons in the U.S. engaging in the import of these agricultural goods from Cuba show documentary evidence that these are produced by “independent Cuban entrepreneurs” and in the cases of entities that these are “not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.”
The State Department says such importations seek to “further engage and empower the Cuban people.” In its statement, the Cuban small farmers organization notes that if the U.S. government truly wants to contribute to the welfare of Cubans, it should lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, the main obstacle to the country’s development.
The statement argues that it is unthinkable that a small private farmer in Cuba could export directly to the United States, and that such transactions would require participation by some Cuban foreign trade enterprise.
(Radio Havana Cuba)