Cuba and the US aspire to establish better agricultural cooperation

Agricultural producers from Cuba and the United States have been discussing since this Wednesday in Havana formulas to promote the bilateral cooperation in that sector, at a time of serious shortages and food shortages on the Island.

The representative of the United States Agricultural Coalition, Paul Johnson, identified the farming as one of the most important sectors in relations between the two countries, although he recognized that it is necessary to “do more,” according to a report by the Efe agency.

Speaking on the first day of the III Cuba-USA Agricultural Conference, the American businessman commented that the economic embargo “limits trade between the two countries in a very significant way, so we must find ways to eliminate barriers,” the media reports. .

If the embargo/blockade against Cuba, in force since 1962, did not exist, the mutual agricultural exchange would be around 1,000 million dollars a year compared to the current 250 million, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture of the United States.

In turn, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated that only in 2021 the North American country doubled its chicken exports to Cuba, which amounted to 253 million dollars, Efe points out.

This trend seems to continue at the beginning of this year. Official data handled by the economist Pedro Monreal on his Twitter account, indicate that “the monthly tons of chicken meat exported by the US to Cuba reached the third highest historical record in the last two decades in February 2022 (31,212 tons), only surpassed by the ‘peaks’ of July 2019 and March 2021 ».

The specialist also pointed out on that social network that the value of a kilogram of chicken imported by Cuba from United States it experienced a decrease of 0.91 USD in the month of January, down to 0.87 USD registered in February.

The Caribbean country, which imports 70% of the food consumed by its 11.2 million inhabitants, has suffered from chronic shortages for decades: it is usual for foods such as powdered milk, eggs, oil, bread, wheat flour and chicken, among others.

For more than fifty years, the Cuban State has kept a ration book that, although its list of products has been greatly reduced, still includes the sale of rice, grains, sugar, 80 grams of bread per day per person and 10 eggs per month to symbolic prices, recalls Efe.

This basic basket has always been a priority for the Cuban government, even in the midst of scarcity, but its reduced content forces people to buy most of their food in the state network of supply and demand stores, at higher prices and with a limited variety of products.

The representative of Cuban Ministry of Agriculture (Minag)Frank Castañeda, stated at Tuesday’s meeting that the government is promoting transformations “to energize the food production«» and mentioned as challenges the lack of technology, fertilizers and inputs, underlines the Spanish agency.

Government approves package of measures to unlock agricultural production in Cuba

The government program, waiting to become law, aims to produce “quality food” and increase production with the participation of “all sectors”, in reference to the incipient private initiative, the result of economic reforms, Efe points out.

The Cuban government adviser to implement this regulation, the Brazilian intellectual Frei Betto, assured in February in Havana that “in Cuba there is no hunger, but there is a risk of food insecurity.”

EFE / OnCuba

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