The US-Cuba Agricultural Conference closes with many promises and no concrete results

The US-Cuba Agricultural Conference closes with many promises and no concrete results
The US-Cuba Agricultural Conference closes with many promises and no concrete results

The V United States-Cuba Agricultural Conference closed on Wednesday in Havana. According to the US representation, cited by the official Prensa Latina, the event encouraged conversations about commercial interests, relations between producers and the continuity of political dialogue linked to the sector.

In the words of Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Michael Strainthe meeting helped to strengthen bilateral ties in a “step by step” path in the face of obstacles.

Strain thanked Miguel Díaz-Canel again for receiving a delegation organized by the National Association of Departments of Agriculture of the United States last February in Havana.

Despite the embargo, Strain said that The agricultural sector remains interested in increasing business. The Cuban Government spends 2,000 million dollars annually on food imports and only 300 million of the total amount corresponds to North American sales. The commissioner wants this to change.

We have the potential to multiply export levels to Cuba by fourthrough diverse assortments, including rice, wheat, soybeans, corn, poultry products, meat, milk, fertilizers, fuels, grains for animal feed, seeds, pesticides and herbicides,” he said.

For the American politician, “the way is frank and open dialogue; continue the actions of the different organizations that within the United States advocate for the normalization of ties with Havana, as well as visits to the Island to promote positive conversations.”

“We have made great progress to strengthen ties and we will work step by step to achieve our objectives,” Strain said, without offering details of any specific results of the meeting, according to an EFE report.

While, The director of operations of USA Rice (the association of rice producers of the United States), Sarah Moran, spoke of the “incredible potential of the exchange with Cuba” and expressed his desire to be able to achieve it.

Moran recalled that Cuba was one of the main importing markets for this product in decades before 1960 and hoped that it could happen again. According to the official newspaper Granmaeven mentioned a meeting of the directors of that organization with the late Fidel Castro.

Kchiris Jhon, director of NASDA, specialized in food business, was willing to collaborate to support the revitalization of the agricultural industry in Cuba and requested greater support between scientists on both sides and with businessmen and producers.

The American businessmen, farmers and politicians participating in the conference spoke at the opening by “resolve differences” and establish “necessary concrete actions”.

He US Congressman Rick Crawford, one of the anti-embargo voices from the United Statessaid that holding this type of meeting constitutes progress, but complained that there is still “We are not where we would like to be”.

Paul Johnson, president of the “Focus Cuba” Agricultural Coalition, with a long history of exports to the Islandsaid that the conference should serve to “listen, learn and return with necessary concrete actions, whether a trade agreement or a commitment to continue these exchanges“, but none of this transpired at Wednesday’s closing.

According to official figures, 80% of the agricultural area in Cuba is operated by non-state forms of management, which includes more than 3,000 cooperatives. The Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Pérez Brito, cited those numbers at the meeting and assured that the main obstacles are on the American side, without mentioning that the majority of these cooperatives are under the control of the Government.

According to PL, on the Cuban side, farmers, cooperative members, members of micro, small and medium-sized businesses, directors of the Ministry of Agriculture and organizations controlled by the Government attended the conference.

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