Cuba No Sugar Threat?

Published online: Nov 25, 2002
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American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman and a group of state Farm Bureau presidents who recently visited Fidel Castro in Cuba, say the country is changing its agriculture focus.

An AFB news release states that during agriculture trade talks with the Cuban leader, it was revealed that Cuba plans to restructure its agriculture production away from commodities that it can’t produce cost-effectively like sugar and rice.

Stallman said this could mean enhanced trade opportunities for United States farmers.

During the visit, Pedro Alvarez, head of Cuba’s food-buying agency Alimport, said Cuba is committed to increasing its purchases of U.S. commodities. Imports from the United States could reach nearly $1 billion by 2005, even with current trade and travel restrictions in place.

Under the new cash-only purchases agreed to by the United States, farm trade with Cuba has grown to $250 million in the past year.